Majority of Turkey’s Kurds against pro-Kurdish HDP closure - survey

A majority Turkey’s Kurdish citizens are against the recent attempts to shut down the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Bianet news site reported on Monday, citing new  survey data collected by the Diyarbakir-based Socio-Political Field Research Center. 

According to the survey, 71.8 percent of Kurds disapproved of the decision to close the HDP and another 33.5 percent considered the removal of HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu from the parliament as a "coup against the political will". 

The survey was conducted in 11 provinces in in-person interviews held in 1,020 homes between March 18 and March 21. 

On March 17, Turkey’s top prosecutor submitted an indictment for the closure of the HDP to the country’s Constitutional Court, accusing the second largest opposition party of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). On that same day, Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his parliamentary immunity after being convicted on charges of spreading terror propaganda for a Twitter post made in 2016.

The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. It has waged a violent insurgency against the Turkish state for Kurdish autonomy since 1984. 

Among those surveyed, views on the closure case against the HDP were decidedly partisan, but many shared a negative stance on it. Thirty percent of the AKP voters, 67.3 percent of the CHP voters, 94.6 percent of the HDP voters, 18.5 of the MHP voters and 59.4 of the Good Party (İYİP) voters and viewed the closure case negatively.

The results were similarly partisan in the case against Gergerlioğlu. Fifty four and 63 percent of the surveyed AKP and MHP voters, respectively, described the case as "the mandatory result of the legal process". Meanwhile, 43.1 and 36.4 percent of HDP and CHP voters respectively saw the case as a “coup against the will of the people.”

Kurdish voters in general expressed a deep distrust in Turkish politics, especially HDP voters. Voters across the Turkish political spectrum, including some supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), were found to be distrustful of politics. 

Voters across parties also found the decision to shut down the HDP to be a negative development for Turkey. They shared the view that this was indicative of a dysfunctional form of politics, especially in parliament, which only contributes to economic pessimism. 

Surveyed Turks were also asked what they think the opposition should do as the HDP faces the prospect of closing. Fourty four percent of AKP and 50 percent of MHP voters said that the results of the case should be respected while 38.2 percent of CHP and 60.4 percent of HDP voters said the opposition should stand in solidarity with the HDP. 

İYİP voters were more divided with 37.8 percent saying the judgement should be respected and 32.4 percent suggesting the party stand with the HDP in solidarity.