HDP holds fifth congress, co-chairs re-elected

HDP holds fifth congress, co-chairs re-elected
Update: 04 July 2022 17:30
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A lively crowd of thousands attended the congress of HDP in the Turkish capital in an expression of defiance in the face of the pending closure case in the Constitutional Court.

The Fifth Congress of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was held on Sunday in Ankara, Turkey, with the attendance of thousands of people.

The congress is of extraordinary importance as it may be the last congress of the HDP who faces a legal case in the Turkish Constitutional Court that might result in the closure of the party and a ban on hundreds of political figures.

The congress hall was decorated with banners that read: ‘Democracy Alliance will win’, ‘Free Press cannot be silenced’, ‘Peace and resolution over war and isolation’, ‘Not a monolithic regime but a democratic republic’, ‘Democratic resolution of the Kurdish Question’, ‘Not hunger and poverty but equal distribution’, ‘We will not give up Istanbul Convention’.

1,050 delegates voted in the congress to re-elect Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar as co-chairs.

Party co-chair Pervin Buldan said in her opening address:

"What Turkey needs is a pluralist and participatory democratic system. It needs a strong local democracy and a pluralistic parliament with broad authority. Our objective is the construction of such a system. We are now facing a crucial process before the coming election. The election will not be about who will be the next president or the prime minister. The important issue is that this system that generates crises is changed, and a new democratic and fair system is established. HDP will be the main determining force in this election and in the ensuing period."

Buldan also strongly criticized the Turkish administration’s policy of constant aggression and conflict in the Middle East and its attacks against the Kurdish people.

Addressing Ankara, she said:

“The Middle East and Syria will not be shaped by your hostility against Kurds, but by the will of the Kurdish people in favor of co-existence, and through the democratic alliances it forms with the peoples it lives side by side.”

A letter, co-written by the jailed former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and the jailed former mayor of Diyarbakır Selçuk Mızraklı, cell mates in a Turkish prison for some time now, were read out in the congress.

“From our prison cell, we will continue to resonate the struggle carried by our people. We will never surrender, submit or be defeated. We’ll continue to resist till the reign of oppression is overcome, and peace and freedoms are restored," the two said in their letter.

HDP: The third largest group in the Turkish Parliament

HDP received 11.7% of the general vote in the last general elections in 2018, securing 67 deputies, which made the party the third largest group in the Turkish Parliament.

In 2019 local elections it played a vital role in the defeat of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey's two largest cities that had been governed by AKP and its political predecessors since 1994. HDP supported the candidates of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in both cities, enabling the latter's victory over AKP.