On the 15th of October the Fourth Ordinary Congress of the Green-Left Party (YSP) was taking place in Ankara, at the 11th anniversary of the establishment of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), being accompanied by many political organisations all over the world. Our member of political secretariat Valentina Skafar was representing the European Left party in Ankara, as the congress is being held under extraordinary conditions. HDP has been under intense attacks from the government since the June 2015 elections. President Erdoğan and his ultranationalist allies have used all kinds of repressive means to destroy the party.
Since 2016, over 5,000 people affiliated with the HDP, including its former co-chairs, parliamentarians, co-mayors, party administrators, and other members, have been arrested. Many are in prison and some face potential life sentences. As if these attacks were not enough, the HDP is facing a case that calls for its closure.
In light of this threat, the party ran for presidential elections in May this year under the list of the Green-Left party (YSP), which is a constituent of the HDP. On the 27th of August 2023, the HDP held its Fourth Extraordinary Congress, and, due to the risks of being prohibited, all the HDP’s political activities were transferred to the Green Left Party. Nevertheless, at today’s congress of YSP party, the latter was also reorganised and renamed to HEDEP (Democratic people’s party for equality), and new co-chairs were elected; Tülay Hatimoğulları Oruç and Tuncer Bakhiran.
Our comrades are determined to continue their struggle for democracy, peace, and justice even more strongly after the congress in their determination to make a democratic change to the unsustainable political space of Turkey.
In their speeches the new co-chairs mentioned also the ongoing tragic also elsewhere in the world, in Palestine and systematic violation of human and political rights of the Kurds. They called on release of many political prisoners in the The Kobanê Case trial that could result in many party members, including former co-chairs, MPs and mayors to be imprisoned for life without parole.
This case is also being used as the main argument in the case for closing down the HDP party, and potentially prevent 451 people from participating in party politics for five years. The basis for the Kobanê Case was thoroughly rejected by the European Court of Human Rights, but Turkey is ignoring the decision. As continued international reactions are vital and encouraging, Valentina Skafar will also observe the next hearing on the Kobanê Case on Monday the 16th.
The European Left party congratulates the new leadership and reiterates our solidarity to our comrades in their struggle and we strongly condemn the use of lawfare in this politically motivated case, which seeks to destroy democratic opposition and criminalize the Kobanî resistance against ISIS.