HDP women candidates: ‘We will govern our cities and ourselves’

HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan addresses a crowd in Erciş during the election. Photo: ANF English.

Local government elections in Turkey will be on March 31.

The government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan removed more than 80 of 103 elected mayors representing the Kurdish-led People’s Democratic Party (HDP) from office and replaced them with government-appointed administrators, or trustees, as part of its crack down on the HDP for its alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The HDP is campaigning to win back most municipalities, especially in the provinces of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van.

Below ANF English summarised the HDP women’s election manifesto.



HDP women candidates released their election manifesto at a meeting in the city of Amed (Diyarbakır). In it, the women reiterate that “against the AKP-MHP [Justice and Development Party —Nationalist Movement Party] fascist alliance we will continue to establish a new life together by defending our democratic local government system”.

Women confirmed that they will “re-establish the co-presidency system targeted by the AKP’s male-dominated system and will reopen the women’s centers, women’s shelters, women’s living areas, women’s labor markets, women’s politics that have been closed by the AKP”.

The manifesto said: “The struggle for the freedom of women, the future of the peoples, the demand for the peace of millions are too vital to be left to the one-man regime. Our righteous struggle based on the human being, nature and the rights of labor is much stronger than their repressive power, much more radical.”

“We are preparing for an election where the ruling power targets women, is hostile to nature” the manifesto continued. “We know that by strengthening our democratic alliances and solidarity networks, we will take back what was taken from us.

“In our municipalities, where we have increased the number at every election, we have opened the way for promises, authority and decision on local politics and our lives by implementing equal representation and co-presidency system.”

The manifesto confirmed that the HDP will “continue to implement co-presidency and equal representation effectively in all local government mechanisms to overcome the prevailing sectarian and male-dominated politics style and to democratise politics. We are committed to gender equality-sensitive budgeting at all levels of local government.”


HDP women confirmed that they will see that an ecological city planning is carried out which includes the right to life of women, health, education, housing, transportation and security, considering women-oriented diversity and pluralism.

“We will fight together against the policies of war, we will promote history, culture and nature, and we will fight the practices of forced migration through war and conflict and changing the demographic structure.”

The manifesto said: “To increase women’s participation in the economy, we will establish Free Women Cooperatives where collective production is encouraged.

“As seasonal migration is female, we will develop our project to ensure women are not forced to migrate to work. We will implement the Jin Card (Women’s Card) to be used on the buses connected to the municipalities in order to enable women to use the urban transport actively and freely.

“To enable women to participate freely in both working life and in public life, we will continue to provide free language education and 24-hour nurseries in all neighborhoods, particularly in areas of high employment.”

The manifesto promotes health as a right and not as a privilege.

Neo-liberalism means that cities, towns and even villages reproduce male domination and social inequalities, the manifesto said, adding that the HDP will reverse this policy and promote social housing, green spaces and a better and peaceful environment where relations can be developed without the fear of the other, migrants, or refugees.

The manifesto confirmed that the HDP would fight against “poverty, violence and discrimination, cheap labor, bargaining in foreign policy and the imposition of human trafficking as the only fate for migrant/refugee women.

“We will ensure that refugee women are granted all services, especially education, health services and shelters, which we offer in our local administrations. We will ensure they can also benefit from their mother tongue as their right.”

It also confirmed the struggle against any kind of violence against women.

“The regime has closed women’s centers, shelters and anti-violence mechanisms and disables women’s work and we will reopen and improve all these services

“In municipalities, we will continue to open help lines in various languages on women violence. We will open a separate line for hearing impaired women. We will establish ‘combat and advisory units’ against child neglect, abuse and incest. We will continue to implement sanctions on employees who commit violence against women as part of collective agreements in local government.”

[Abridged from ANF English]