Turkey: Defying attacks, left-wing HDP holds congress

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) held its Third Congress on February 11.

Turkey's second largest opposition party — the left-wing, Kurdish-led Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) — elected new leaders at its Third Congress on February 11, TheRegion.org said.

Authorities had tried to stop the congress by arresting hundreds of would-be attendees. Two days before the congress, police detained leading members of several Kurdish and leftist parties, HDP co-leader Serpil Kemalbay said.

Kemalbay was among 17 suspects facing arrest over their opposition to Turkey’s military offensive on Afrin in Syria’s north. More than 8000 HDP members — including dozens of elected officials — are already in jail.

The HDP is the only major political party to oppose the campaign in Afrin, dubbed Operation Olive Branch.

“The aim of these illegal and arbitrary operations is to prevent our congress being held in a healthy way,” Kemalbay said.

About 32,000 people were estimated to have attended the HDP’s congress. The party unanimously elected Istanbul lawmaker Pervin Buldan and deputy co-chair Sezai Temelli as the new leaders of the party.

Buldan’s husband was murdered in 1994, after the government said it had a list of businesspeople who were funding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The killer was never identified.

Buldan commented: “Women know the real face of war. We lost our children, our homes, our partners. That’s why we say that women must be the vanguards of peace. We will resist fascism in Turkey to build the peace.”

In a speech to the congress, Temelli said: “Today, the people of Turkey have two choices. They will either choose the picture of hope and peace or they will be imprisoned by war politics under the pressure of fascism.”

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.