Peoples' Democratic Party and Green Left Party (Turkey): 'Erdogan is never an option for us' (plus joint statement)

First published at HDP Europe.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Green Left Party (Yeşil Sol) have announced that they will continue to oppose Erdoğan in the second round of the presidential election.

In a press conference on Thursday, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Green Left Party announced their stand regarding the run-off election for presidency in Turkey, which is set to take place on Sunday, May 28. The press conference in Ankara, held after a meeting of the executive committees of the two parties, was attended by HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar and Green Left Party co-spokespersons Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar and Ibrahim Akın.

'The run-off election has the character of a referendum'

“We will go to the polls together in the second round of the elections and change the one-man regime,” Buldan said, explaining that the outcome would shape the years to come.

“We are dealing with a totalitarian understanding and structure based on absolute power, which has built a system based on one man for 21 years. Therefore, the election on 28 May has the character of a referendum between those who are for a democratic change of the system and those who want to maintain this monist regime. Let us first state that we do not approve of any political understanding that breaks, exploits, weakens or distracts the resistance to democratic change in society. We will continue our democratic struggle against such approaches to the end,” Buldan said.

'We will continue our struggle for a common and equal future'

Referring to the protocol signed yesterday between the nationalist Victory Party (Zafer Partisi) and the Nation’s Alliance candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (CHP), Buldan said: “The main goal of our struggle and Third Way politics is to bring the system to a universal standard that prioritises citizens’ rights and freedoms, social justice and democracy, and to prevent a handful of profiteers from usurping the opportunities of the state and society. The only thing that makes us uncompromising and unyielding is this demand and the need of the oppressed people. We strongly emphasize that those who pawn the political will of the Kurds through the trustees are also those who pawn the rights and freedoms of all the peoples of Turkey. It is not in the interest of society that the Kurdish question remains unresolved. The Republic will not be able to integrate into democracy as long as this unsolvable game is not broken.

At the beginning of the second century of the Republic, we will put the will of the people above any other will, whatever the circumstances. We will continue our struggle for a common and equal democratic future. It must be emphasised once again that it is wrong and inhumane to instrumentalise migrants or refugees for political interests. It is not these people who are responsible for the current situation, but the government, which insists on a policy of war and instrumentalises flight and migration for economic and political purposes. The refugee and migrant problem can only be solved by waging a strong peace struggle against the war policy.”

'The only option is to change the Erdoğan regime'

Pervin Buldan continued: “We would like to emphasise that no political calculation and interests can be more valuable than the future of the poor, labouring peoples, women and youth. We know that only the principles of democracy, law and freedom can stand against the policies of the People’s Alliance [alliance of the ruling AKP party with nationalist and Islamist parties]. We would like to take this opportunity to once again present to the public the stance of the HDP and the Green Left Party, which have no other concerns than the common interests of society and its democratic, equal and free future, and which have no secret deals or conditions on their agenda. We, the HDP and the Green Left Party, stand solely for the people’s struggle for equality, justice, law and freedom; these values are our only criterion, our unwavering commitment. We repeat our pledge that we will not deviate from this stance under any circumstances. The current freak regime created by Erdoğan and his partners is the cause of the social problems. The elections on 28 May will vote on whether this irrational regime will continue or not. In the 14 May elections, there was strong support for the demand for democratic change and prosperity, and this demand was reflected at the ballot box. Millions of votes against the current system represent the demand for more freedom, more democracy and more prosperity. The goal is to build a free, democratic and just system without discrimination, where people can participate in government.

Once again, it is evident that the Erdoğan regime cannot fulfil these expectations and demands. The biggest obstacle to the realisation of these demands will continue to be Erdoğan and this regime itself. Therefore, Erdoğan is never an option for us, and the only option is to change him and the power he represents. For this reason, we reiterate that the recognition of the democratic ballot of the Kurdish people and the society of Turkey as a whole and their expectations and longing for democracy, law, justice, equality and freedom is of utmost importance and priority for us. On 28 May, together with millions of people, we express the hope that we can succeed and together turn the course of history towards democratic change. We believe it, and so do you. We will go to the polls in full force, and together we will change the one-man regime. Our own strength and the desire of millions of people for change is our greatest source of inspiration. We will continue our struggle persistently and tenaciously. We will never, never give up. We will definitely, definitely win.”

Uçar: Our vote for democracy, change and transformation

The Green Left Party co-spokespersons Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar and Ibrahim Akın expressed similar sentiments:

“With the decision we made in the first and second round of elections, our party has declared that it will vote for change, transformation and democracy. In doing so, it has insisted on and defended its principled stance, which did not require protocols and negotiations, from the very beginning. More than half of the voters who went to the polls in Turkey defended and voted for change, transformation and democracy. The HDP and the Green Left Party are the lifeblood of this demand for change and democracy. We have fought a great battle with the strength we have received from our peoples, and we will continue to do so. We were the answer to the politics of trustees yesterday and we will be the answer to the new trustee discussions today. We will cleanse politics in Turkey of chauvinist and nationalist language, because it does not correspond to the reality of society and peoples. This is our call to the people: our absolute priority is to end this pharaonic system, the one-man regime, the anti-women regime. The election we are facing is not a choice between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu. This election is our election. Our vote is once again in favour of democracy, change and transformation.”


The parties yesterday convened their executive committees to decide their position in the runoff, following a deal between the opposition candidate and Ümit Özdağ, head of the ultranationalist Victory (Zafer) Party.

The Kılıçdaroğlu-Özdağ deal pledged to maintain the practice of removing local administrators with “terrorist ties,” which raised questions about the HDP’s stance in the runoff vote.

Since 2016, almost all city councils won by HDP in the 2014 and 2019 local elections have been robbed by Erdogan appointed trustees. Since the last local elections in 2019, the Erdoğan government has dismissed all but six of the 65 HDP mayors in the country’s Kurdish areas and replaced them with trustees. The municipalities he lost through elections he looted through arbitrary action. Shortly before the elections, on 14 May, his ultranationalist Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu explained how arbitrarily Erdoğan had acted against the municipalities held by the HDP: “Erdogan instructed me to seize all (65 municipalities) that the HDP won in the elections. Within 48 hours, in the morning, I arrested all co-mayors and appointed ‘trustees’.”

Prior to the first round of the elections on May 14, Kılıçdaroğlu and his allies had repeatedly opposed the removal of mayors and pledged to end this practice.

The HDP participated in the parliamentary vote on May 14 under the banner of the Green Left Party due to an ongoing closure case. In the predominantly Kurdish-populated provinces where the HDP is traditionally strong, Kılıçdaroğlu secured a sweeping win against Erdoğan. The Green Left received 8.8 percent of the votes countrywide, winning 61 (of which 30 are women) of the 600 seats in the parliament. This makes it the third largest party in parliament. Not only in parliament, but also in general politics, the HDP and the Green Left Party are the democratic alternative and thus the “third way” to the two nationalist alliances. Its role as a shaper of democracy in Turkey remains politically crucial.

Peoples' Democratic Party and Green Left Party: We are determined to make the regime lose in the runoff

Turkey’s presidential election will go to a runoff on 28 May. The executive councils of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Green Left Party held a meeting in Ankara (on 16 May) where they discussed the election work and the results.

The HDP and Green Left Party released a statement after the meeting, outlining their objectives for the coming days in a ten-point plan.

1- We consider it extremely important that the Green Left Party, despite all the pressure and coups, has succeeded in achieving the third largest representation of Turkey in parliament. However, it is also clear that, all in all, we did not achieve the election result we wished for and expected. Whatever the conditions, we will continue to fight to organise ourselves more strongly and to achieve greater success.

2- First of all, we note that we are already working towards the elimination of the identified shortcomings. It should not be forgotten that we come from a tradition where the principle of criticism and self-criticism applies. The election results have reasons that go beyond the voting process. They require a comprehensive discussion phase. In order to avoid former mistakes in the new beginning, we will convene meetings after 28 May and hold discussions with our people and our district and provincial associations. Without resorting to any thin excuses, we will take stock of identified weaknesses and inadequacies and do what is necessary. No one should have any doubt about this.

3- However, the election is not over yet. On 28 May, the second round in the presidential election will take place. In line with the tradition and culture of our parties, we value everything that contributes to and paves the way for the struggle for freedom and democracy and creates opportunities. Elections are undoubtedly part of this. Just as past votes that did not produce the desired results were used as a reason for new persistence, tenacity and a strengthening of the struggle, the current electoral process will also become a reason for extended organising, resistance and struggle.

4- The AKP/MHP government and the People’s Alliance are carrying out incessant attacks against Kurds, women, youth, the oppressed and the social and political opposition. Our parties are the primary target of an attack concept that clamps down on society by creating a climate of oppression and fear. Until today, we have succeeded in resolutely thwarting all war concepts, plans of decomposition and the politics of rejection and denial – because the foundation of our reality, which is supported by resolute resistance, has been built with the will of this people. We are the subjects of a resistance that finds its way and its future in the social struggle against the politics of the rulers based on lies and does not retreat.

5- In this period of hard struggle, all oppositional sections of society, especially the Kurdish people, have put up considerable resistance. We would like to emphasise once again that we are here, and we are strong! This idea, this tradition of struggle will never end. We will continue our struggle to build the broadest democracy alliance in Turkey and push back fascism.

6- With the parliamentary election of 14 May, an anti-woman, anti-working class and anti- Kurdish power alliance became visible. Against this composition, the people have once again given our party the responsibility to defend the struggle of women, the struggle of the working class, universal human and collective rights, the general principles of international law and fundamental freedoms on the basis of equality and justice. Let no one doubt that we will defend the interests of society in parliament, in the streets, in short, at all levels and fields of politics to the end.

7- As the third strongest force in parliament, we are determined to make the regime that we did not let win in the first round of the elections lose in the run-off. In the coming days, we will continue our way with the determination of our peoples that gives us breath and life, and we will surely win. We are firmly convinced that in the coming days, both our organised structures, components and alliances and our people will once again show their determination at the ballot box without flinching from this regime that is the enemy of justice, peace and freedom.

8- On the eve of a new period of struggle, we will once again succeed in making the breakthrough to reach the light at the darkest moment of darkness and realise our goals. We reaffirm our pledge to the great values of our struggle for humanity, to all friends and companions who have participated in the dungeons or in exile at every level and stage of the resistance, making sacrifices and diligence to achieve victory. The most important tool for this is undoubtedly our political stance and strategy, which is the hope of peoples, faith communities, cultures, the oppressed, women and youth. The only way to succeed, to win, to inspire hope and to achieve victory is to better show this policy and bring it together with the peoples.

9- Fascism has been stopped by years of struggle of our peoples with great efforts and sacrifices. We should be aware that the continued survival of this rotting fascism by means of state resources, oppression, violence and electoral tricks will cause new suffering to our peoples. It is in our hands not to allow this to happen. For this, the electoral process, which is not yet over, is a great opportunity. In the next few days, we can put an end to this nightmare and put an end to evil without falling into pessimism and despair. We have the opportunity to make the second round of the presidential election a great end and a new beginning.

10- It is necessary that all our peoples, organisations and friends inside and outside the country go to the polls for the runoff election and deliver the ultimate blow to fascism instead of postponing the struggle until after the elections. Our greatest self-criticism after the valuable criticism of our people will be to defeat the one-man regime. We will spend the critical period ahead of us in determined action and work. Convinced that we will win, we have decided to intensify our work from today.