Turkey: Green Left Party holds conference to discuss road map (Plus: GL conference ends with resolutions for the future)

Green Left conference

First published at ANF English.

The Green Left Party is discussing its future at a conference in Ankara under the slogan "With Change to Freedom". The two-day conference at the Nazım Hikmet Cultural Centre, which is attended by 800 delegates from all over Turkey, follows a women's conference of the party. At the conference, proposals from the local meetings with the grassroots in the past months are to be evaluated and put into resolution form in preparation for the party congress announced for the end of September.

The Green Left Party contested elections for the first time last May because the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is threatened with a closure case in Turkey. After the elections, both parties started a joint process of criticism and self-criticism, discussing the mistakes and failures in all bodies and with the grassroots. More than 30,000 people participated in the popular assemblies. In addition, the opinions of imprisoned and exiled politicians were sought.

In the opening speech, the co-spokespersons of the Green Left Party, Ibrahim Akın and Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar, thanked Selahattin Demirtaş, Figen Yüksekdağ, Gültan Kışanak, Alp Altınörs, Sebahat Tuncel as well as Leyla Güven, Mahir Sayın, Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Nasrullah Kuran for their contributions and stated that democratic consensus and free politics are among their basic principles.

Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar spoke about the ever-worsening situation in Turkish prisons, where, she said, 81 prisoners died in 2022. At the moment, over 1,500 sick prisoners and 561 severely ill prisoners remain behind bars.

Uçar also spoke about the Kurdish question, defining it as the most important problem in Turkey, and a matter of denial and annihilation. “The Kurdish question is not a security issue. It is a problem of democracy, freedom and status,” she said.

Uçar remarked that the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan on the prison island of Imrali was one of the most important topics when dealing with the Kurdish question.

“Isolation is the denial of the Kurdish question and even discussing it is avoided. Every single remark and comment of our fellow deputies about the isolation is faced with serious attacks. Those who attack us are those who do not recognize the identity, language, culture and history of the Kurdish people. No matter how violently they attack, we will continue to speak about isolation and fight to end it,” she said.

“The isolation on Imrali does not concern the Kurds alone. It has turned into a regime that spread to the entire country. The fate of the Kurdish people seeking a free and equal life is more united with the people of Turkey than we hoped. We cannot treat the isolation and corruption in the country separately. Isolation is a problem of the country and we need to fight it all together.”

Green Left Party conference ends with resolutions for the future

First published at ANF English.

The two-day conference of the Green Left Party at the Nazım Hikmet Congress Center in Ankara ended on Monday evening. The Green Left Party initiated a restructuring process immediately after the elections and organized popular assemblies, workshops and working meetings to receive criticism and suggestions. After the women's conference on 8 and 9 September, these criticisms were brought together at the general conference and corresponding resolutions were made.

The fight against isolation

The total isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan was a central theme of the debate, together with issues such as the Kurdish question, the war, the trustee administration in the cities, the politics of the third way and the possibilities of democratic politics.

The conference said that one of the biggest obstacles to democratization in Turkey is the absolute isolation in Imralı that has lasted for 24 years. In this sense, it was repeatedly emphasized how important it was to permanently fight for an end to Öcalan's isolation and his physical freedom.

The candidates are chosen by the people

The conference also discussed the distribution of places on the list for the elections. In response to criticism of the previous candidate selection process, the conference delegation made an important decision in the spirit of direct democracy. It was decided to use a grassroots democratic, pluralistic selection process in which the people can express their choices for candidates. Party members, religious figures, intellectuals, mass democratic organizations, civil society organizations, mothers of peace, associations of the families of the martyrs, elements of the democratic opposition and election officials should take part in this process. For this purpose, a regulation for the selection of candidates and a corresponding guideline should be developed.

Discussion about a new name

Among many other topics, the conference also discussed the new names proposed for the party at the people's assemblies. About 20 names were suggested at those meetings. The names containing the word “democracy” predominate. The Peoples' Democratic Party (DHP) was one of the most suggested names. But there were also proposals such as the Party for Equality and Democracy of Peoples (HEDEP), Party for the Equality of Peoples (HEP), Party of Free Society (ÖTP), Party of Free Life (ÖYP) and Party of New Life (YYP).

The conference adopted a total of 24 resolutions that will be presented to the Congress in October. The headings of the resolutions are as follows:

1- A democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question

2- Democratic politics, the third way and alliances

3- We insist on “democratic local governments” against the trustees regime

4- Freedom and equality for all faiths

5- An indispensable task: work organization

6- Democratic economy that serves the people

7- Solidarity in earthquakes and disasters

8- Fight against drugs

9- The free press must not be silenced

10- Party council list, co-chairs and other committees

11- The people will choose our candidates for the parliamentary and local elections

12- Organizational steps of restructuring

13- We will build the Democratic Republic

14- Peace and overcoming war and isolation policies

15- Prisons, rights violations and ill prisoners

16- Fighting crimes against nature

17- Germinate seeds

18- A fair and solidarity policy for the disabled

19- Fraternity of peoples in a world without borders

20- Free future with children

21- Strengthen the fight for the right to mother tongue, support multilingual life

22- Culture and art

23- Implementation of the party school program

24- Youth Councils