Pro-Kurdish HDP calls on Erdoğan to bring social peace, respect polls

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to take steps towards implementing social peace in Turkey by putting an end to the state of emergency rule practices and stealing the seats of mayors previously sacked by decree laws, left-wing newspaper Duvar reported on Saturday.

HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli asked the Turkish president to ‘’cool off heated iron and take steps towards societal peace,‘’ referring to the policies of Ankara that have affected Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, where the HDP officials say the will of the people have been ‘’seized.‘’

The HDP officials’ statements refer to a decision by Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) which announced that district mayors elected in this year’s March 31 local elections, who had previously been stripped of office by presidential decree, will not be allowed to take up office, citing their expulsion from their previous jobs by an emergency decree. The council has awarded the mayoral seat to the second placed candidates instead.

The ruling AKP had already replaced over 90 elected mayors in the country’s southeast with government appointed officials. 

“The language used during the lead up to the polls was wrong and a reflection of the hatred and enmity [by government officials],‘’ said Buldan, adding, “We see that those who have not taken any lessons from the polls continue to polarise and separate. In fact, what this country needs is peace and democracy.‘’

Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost five of Turkey’s most populous provinces in the March 31 elections, the greatest loss the Islamist party has suffered in its 17 years in power.

AKP officials repeatedly referred to the HDP as a terror-linked group in the run up to the polls with Erdoğan continuing to accuse the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of cooperating with terrorist organisations over its so-called alliance with the HDP.

Ankara accuses the HDP of harbouring sympathies for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group at war in Turkey for over 30 years, and acting in its interests.

The HDP and CHP did not establish an alliance for March 31 polls, but the pro-Kurdish party did not nominate candidates in the western parts of the country and advised its supporters to vote for opposition candidates to form an anti-Erdoğan bloc.