After the Election: Future Possibilities in the Kurdish Politics

The election results have dashed hopes of change for all opposition parties, but especially for the Kurds. The Kurds are disappointed and surprised, on the one hand, because the possibility of change has been lost, but on the other hand, because of the state of Kurdish politics. Because in this election, the number of Kurdish […]

After the Election: Future Possibilities in the Kurdish Politics
After the Election: Future Possibilities in the Kurdish Politics
  • Yayınlanma19 July 2023 12:13
  • Güncelleme19 July 2023 12:37

The election results have dashed hopes of change for all opposition parties, but especially for the Kurds. The Kurds are disappointed and surprised, on the one hand, because the possibility of change has been lost, but on the other hand, because of the state of Kurdish politics. Because in this election, the number of Kurdish voters among the new voters was about 1.5 million, but the HDP (which ran in the election under the name YSP) received about one million fewer votes than in the 2018 election. If you add up all the votes of the TİP, which allied with the YSP, the votes of the alliance did not increase but decreased.

Another problem is that the HDP in Kurdistan has lost votes in every election since the June 7 (2015) election. How is it possible that on the one hand, the number and votes of the Kurds are increasing and on the other hand the votes of the Kurdish party are decreasing?

The answer to this question is long and there are many factors on which this result depends. I for Perspective. I will briefly focus on a few points and come to our new topic.

I talk about several factors that cause HDP to lose its votes for these reasons:

1) After the peace process, the beginning of the war and the pressure on the HDP weakened politics.

2) After the peace process, the PKK took up fighting in the cities, and the civilian population was left in the middle of the war. As a result, the people’s trust was broken, and both the PKK and the HDP did not openly criticize their people. Therefore, the broken trust of the people continues.

3) Ten years ago, on one side, the peace process continued, and on the other side, Selahattin Demirtaş and civil politics became popular. Then the war came and the achievements of the Kurds were destroyed. Even though there is not much talk about it, the expectation of people is no longer on the armed movement, but on civilian politics. When the armed forces intervene in civilian politics, they criminalize the civilian sphere.

4) The HDP gained votes in 2015 and the HDP did not wonder who these new voters are, why they have not come yet, why they came today, and what kind of policies are needed for the new era. That is to say the sociology of people changes, but politics is static and does not change.

5) Demirtaş is an exceptional and popular leader, his absence is weak in the HDP.

6) In 2019, HDP supported CHP in some Turkish cities. Since then, the attitude of CHP is soft to the Kurds. The HDP has not made clear the relation with the CHP, and some of the HDP votes passed to the CHP.

7) The electoral threshold was lowered from 10% to 7%, therefore, voters who strategically supported the HDP to jump the electoral hurdle stopped supporting it.

8) The alliance with the TİP was strategically wrong for the HDP, its work was in the TİP, and it harmed the YSP.

What is the future of Kurdish politics today? Because politics has increased in the Kurdish area. Not only the AK party and the HDP but also the CHP and the Hudapar are active in this area. But in this article, I will talk about two Kurdish parties.

The alternatives of HDP

In 2019, HDP supported CHP in several Turkish cities, and CHP won local elections in those cities. At that time, PKK leader Ocalan sent a letter to the HDP. In this letter, he called on the HDP to stop supporting the CHP and he said follow own the Third Line. This request of Ocalan meant that the CHP would not be able to take over the municipal elections if the HDP followed Oecalan’s call. This was because these cities fell into the hands of the party AK and Erdogan appointed governors for HDP municipalities. But supporting the HDP opened the possibility of change in Turkey. If the HDP was successful in its politics and Kilicdaroglu won with HDP support, there would be changes that would benefit the HDP as well. But that has not happened. If the HDP supports the CHP again in the next municipal elections and the CHP wins these cities again, it is very likely that Erdogan will appoint governors for the HDP municipalities.

Another possibility is that HDP and Erdoğan come to terms with Ocalan’s message. That is, put up candidates in İstanbul, Ankara, Adana, Antalya, and Mersin, keep your votes, and let Erdogan win these municipalities. In response, Erdoğan must guarantee that he will not appoint governors for Kurdish municipalities. Politicians have been talking about this strategy for several days, sometimes as a possibility and sometimes as a decision by the HDP.

There are two problems with this possibility: First, there is great enmity between the HDP and Erdogan and it is also needed a changing of its mind within the HDP to initiate and advance this strategy. Second, according to Turkish opposition, the HDP is worthy of standing against Erdogan, and if there is a possibility of agreement, the HDP will be heavily criticized. Therefore, it is necessary for the HDP Congress to participate in the management of people and individuals who can participate in these processes and dialogues.

Another problem is that Erdogan will accept this agreement. The CHP has becomen weak. There are also problems between the CHP and Meral Akşener’s İYİ party. The HDP has also lost power. In other words, the opposition has lost their power. There is a possibility that Erdogan will say, “I will win without the support of the Kurds” and not accept the alliance.

Since Erdogan wants to take back Istanbul, there is a possibility that he will accept this alliance in order to eliminate the risks, but we cannot say that he will accept it 100%.

What will Hudapar do?

The most successful party in this election was Hudapar. Hudapar sent its four candidates to parliament, attracting everyone’s attention. It is not yet clear how Hudapar will proceed politically, but I think he will be criticized in parliament more for his Kurdishness than for his religion. This criticism will draw the attention of the Kurds to Hudapar. Hudapar will be more known and recognized among Kurdish and Turkish religious people.

Hudapar will increase his power with the support of the Turkish government , and it is likely to get more votes. However, it is still difficult to get some municipalities. They may not have candidates and both support the AK party and participate in the elections through the AK party. If the HDP makes an agreement with the AK party, there is a possibility that civil political competition will increase in the north (in the city of Kurds). If the pressure on the HDP continues, civil and political relations between Hudapar and HDP will become difficult. Nevertheless, not only one but both sides want peace politics among the Kurds.

This news was translated by Yonca Sarsılmaz