Kurds and Alevis excluded from opposition bloc's election program

Kurds and Alevis excluded from opposition bloc's election program
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Turkey's opposition bloc has announced a 244-page election program in which it advocates restoring democracy and freedoms but makes no pledges to Kurds or Alevis. Meral Danis Bestas of the HDP criticized the program, saying, "More serious work needs to be

Turkey's six opposition parties, which make up the Nation Alliance vowed on Monday to curtail presidential powers, install a powerful new prime minister accountable to parliament and comprehensively expand democratic rights if they take power in the May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The 244-page program, entitled "Joint Political Declaration of Intent," was announced in a ceremony in Istanbul attended by the leaders of the opposition parties.

In nine chapters containing more than 2,300 commitments, the opposition program promises to "urgently" amend the constitution and "put an end to the vague and arbitrary restrictions on freedom of assembly and demonstration."

"We will strengthen the freedoms of thought, opinion and expression," it adds.

However, the text does not include the words "Kurds" or "Alevis," two groups that face the most discrimination in Turkey. There is also no mention of education in the mother tongue. Only one article talks about making it easier to do art in the mother tongue.

Meral Danis Bestas, deputy leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), called the text a "restoration project" and said, "It tries to repair the injustice and illegality created by the AKP to some extent, rather than proposing a fundamental structural solution (...) but everything was not rosy before the AKP either."

"There should be more serious work on fundamental issues, on the Kurdish issue," she said.