Turkey: Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) handed over its activities to the Green Left Party
First published at ANF English.
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) held its 4th Extraordinary Congress in Ankara on Sunday. Sultan Özcan and Cahit Kırkazak were elected as the new co-chairs of the party. The congress was held in memory of the peace mothers Adalet Safalı and Perişan Akçelik and their son Cihan Akçelik, who died in an accident in Hakkari on 22 August. A minute's silence at the beginning of the event also commemorated all the other people who lost their lives in the struggle for democracy and freedom.
The previous co-chairs, Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar, had announced after the parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey in May that they would not run again. In their combative farewell speeches, the two politicians referred to the history of the HDP and explained that the basic idea of the party is still valid and cannot be destroyed by banning procedures and mass arrests.
Pervin Buldan stated: “Up to this point, our struggle has endured through operations, trustee appointments, fabricated trials, and closure lawsuits. We want them (AKP and MHP) to see and understand that we stand firm against all of these tactics. Our fight extends everywhere—on the streets, in the fields, within prisons, and in courtrooms; it permeates every aspect of life. I express my infinite gratitude to those who have stood by me as comrades, supported me throughout my tenure, and provided guidance—especially our friends in prison, my fellow women comrades, the Peace Mothers, my people, and all my friends. I assure you that I will always stand by your side. This honorable struggle will undoubtedly prevail.”
Speaking after, Mithat Sancar said: “This congress does not mark the end of the process; rather, it represents one of the milestones of the process we initiated after Turkey's 14 May elections. Going forward, we will channel our experience and strength into the Green Left Party, but the HDP will continue to exist both in spirit and as an institution. The determination that will guide this country out of the cycle of violence and the dark abyss resides within us. As a member of this struggle at every level, I will continue to make every effort, together with our people.”
After the elections, Sultan Özcan and Cahit Kırkazak were elected as the new co-chairs. HDP also elected its party assembly and other central organs.
The newly elected co-chair Sultan Özcan said in a speech that she considered it a great honour to be nominated for this post. “The HDP is based on an idea and cannot be closed like a building. The strength of the party is based on the revolutionary-democratic values from Mesopotamia to Anatolia to Thrace and a long experience of struggle,” she said.
Since the HDP has been subject to a ban for over two years, the Green Left Party contested in the May elections and won 62 deputy seats in the Turkish National Assembly. After the elections, both parties started a joint process of criticism and self-criticism, discussing the mistakes and failures with the grassroots in all committees and at local meetings. The parties agreed that the HDP should continue to exist but pass on its competences to the Green Left Party, which will adopt a changed constitution and give itself a new name at its own congress at the end of September.