Pro-Kurdish HDP elects Mithat Sancar, Pervin Buldan as co-chairs

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) elected lawmaker Mithat Sancar and re-elected Pervin Buldan as the party’s co-chairs in an annual congress on Sunday.

Fifty-seven-year-old Sancar replaces Sezai Temelli as HDP co-chair and Buldan is set to co-lead the party for a second term following HDP’s fourth annual general congress held in Ankara, T24 news site reported.

Sancar, elected from the southeastern province of Mardin, has been serving as lawmaker with the party since 2015.

“I am making a call for everyone to work together against injustices at a time when there are so many ruthless ruling powers and oppression,’’ Sancar said in his speech.

“We have not arrived at this point easily,’’ Buldan said in her speech on Sunday.

“Thousands of our friends have been taken hostage, but we have become millions,” Buldan said in reference to the jailing of HDP officials, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.

Yüksekdağ and Demirtaş sent messages from behind bars to the HDP congress, which saw the attendance of guests from over 25 countries and 1,018 delegates.

Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister expected to launch a new party to rival the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), also sent a message to the congress.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and has led years-long crackdown on the group, jailing officials and removing the HDP mayors from office in the country’s Kurdish-majority southeast.

The HDP denies any links to the PKK.