The Labour and Freedom Alliance announced its position on the presidential elections on 14 May at a press conference at the World Trade Centre in Ankara on Wednesday. According to the statement, the alliance, which was founded in Turkey last September and includes the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Social Freedom Party (TÖP), the Labour Movement Party (EHP), the Federation of Socialist Councils (SMF), the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) and the Labour Party (EMEP), will not put forward a candidate of its own.
In addition to the representatives of the alliance, the press conference was also attended by representatives of the parties from the working group for a Kurdish alliance, of which the HDP is also a member. The joint decision on the presidential elections was explained by HDP Co-Chair Pervin Buldan in a declaration, which included the following:
“In less than two months, one of the most critical elections in Turkey’s history will take place. We are at a historic moment that will decide the future of the country and society. On the threshold of the second century of the republic, the 13th president of the country will be elected, and the parliament will be reconstituted.
The economic and social policies implemented by the AKP government in the last twenty-one years have caused great destruction in all spheres of life. The freedom-restricting measures based on oppression and illegitimacy know no bounds. The multiple problems, the lack of solutions and the severe depression we are experiencing are getting worse day by day. The AKP/MHP government has stolen the present from society and is threatening its future.
This political power, which has descended on the country like a nightmare, has extended one-man rule to every inch of the country by using all kinds of ruling practices. The presidential system of government takes the breath away from the people of Turkey.
What Turkey needs most is a genuine and strong democracy based on the sovereignty of the people. We want an order in which universal rights and freedoms are recognised and constitutionally guaranteed, in which democratic principles of law prevail and social and economic rights are brought to life. This goal cannot be achieved without a strong local democracy in which local participation mechanisms function.
As a country and society, we will wake up with hope on the morning of 15 May. The days when the forces that will bring about a democratic change will win the majority in the parliament, when the parliament will be seen as an essential will for a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, when all parties can have a free discussion on the axis of a transparent dialogue and when the citizens will build a future of equality, freedom and peace are the longing and demand of all people with a conscience.
The Labour and Freedom Alliance is the mouthpiece for the demands of the labourers and all the oppressed. It is the force of democratic change and the will to build. It is the sole representative and guarantor of the rights of our peoples. It is the address of the struggle against the overexploitation of nature. It is the guarantee of the free life of young people. It is the key for Turkey’s future and democratisation.
As the Labour and Freedom Alliance, we will build a free life for women. We will never allow women to be ignored. We are the guarantor of a future where women will be equal and free in all spheres of life. We are committed to ensuring that women are represented in politics according to the principle of equality. Our alliance will reinstate the Istanbul Convention and fight with all its might to guarantee all women’s achievements constitutionally.
And we are determined, with our decades of struggle, experience and wisdom, to reach the days when the democratic sovereignty of the peoples of Turkey will be established.
The way to democratise Turkey is for those who insist on labour, justice and peace and will bring about democratic change and transformation, namely us, to gain significant power in parliament. We are the real alternative for our people who are meant to be constricted between the one-man system and restoration.
In the presidential elections, we will exercise our historical responsibility against one-man rule. For the realisation of democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms and social justice in the country, we are determined to hold accountable those responsible for the great destruction and the government that has perpetuated a rule based on poverty, corruption, plunder and profit.
For these reasons, we are announcing to the public that we will not be fielding a candidate in the presidential elections. Our urgent goal and reason for struggle is to create a political climate in which people’s working and living conditions are improved, justice in public administration, gender equality, respect for nature, a free life for young people, a peaceful foreign policy, an impartial and independent judiciary and liberated identities exist and, above all, a democratic constitution that includes all this.
Turkey does not need confrontation but reconciliation through the application of common sense; it needs to find lasting, realistic and inclusive solutions to our social and political problems. Those who polarise society, create tensions, foment unrest by creating internal and external enemies, and ignore the demands and aspirations of millions of citizens have no chance of winning.
The path to a common future and to the building of a political democracy leads through common struggle and common hope, through courageous steps for a new life, and through the determined defence and implementation of policies that meet the desires and needs of society. May this path be free and easy for all of us.