16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

Pro-Kurdish BDP aims to represent the whole country

22 December 2009, Tuesday /AYŞE KARABAT
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which will replace the now-defunct pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), will try to be a party for the whole country, unlike its predecessors, it was decided in party meetings over the weekend.

It is also expected that former DTP deputies will join the BDP this week along with independent İstanbul deputy Ufuk Uras. The BDP will then have a sufficient number of deputies to form a parliamentary group.

“We are aiming to form a political platform together with the democratic representatives in Turkey. We want to change the image of only being a Kurdish party. We already have relations with these actors, and we will continue to talk to them,” İbrahim Binici, a former DTP Şanlıurfa deputy who is now an independent, told Today’s Zaman.

Binici did not mention any names and underlined that they would prefer to establish relations with organizations and their candidates are welcomed.

“There are representatives of the workers’ movement, and there are contacts with the Freedom and Solidarity Party [ÖDP], the Social Democratic People’s Party [SHP] and the Labor Party [EMEP]; we will expand these contacts,” he said.

When he was asked, he did not deny or confirm the rumor, but it is expected that CHP Ankara deputy Eşref Erdem will be invited to join the BDP. When the DTP was closed down, Erdem paid a courtesy visit to the DTP headquarters. However, Erdem told Today’s Zaman that he is not intending to change parties and he does not even want to talk about it.

The structure and the composition of the BDP will also determine the path for the new left party initiative composed of intellectuals, Alevis and the socialist left. Uras was in this group, but when he was elected as a deputy and there was no new left party initiative, he promised that if he was needed, he would join the DTP.

The Constitutional Court decided to implement a political ban on the former chairman of the DTP, Ahmet Türk, and deputy Aysel Tuğluk, so the DTP lost the necessary 20 deputies needed to form a parliamentary group.

“Uras made a promise and is now applying it. We will continue on our road, but of course, it depends on the BDP’s project. In the past they tried to form a party of Turkey, but they failed; it is better to wait and see, but I am not sure if they will succeed this time,” said Mesut Yeğen from the sociology department of Middle East Technical University (METU), a person familiar with the new left initiative.

It is expected that the extraordinary congress of the BDP will be held in the second half of January or at the beginning of February.

Not only the new participants but also the new party administration will be indicators of the path the BDP will take.

The chairman of the party, Demir Çelik, will continue in his duty until the congress but when the parliamentary group is formed, a new parliamentary group chairperson will be elected.

The DTP had the principle of equal representation of women and men, and the BDP is expected to follow the same tradition, so since the chairman of the party is a man, the parliamentary group chairperson will most likely be a woman.

Within the party, Batman deputy Ayla Akat and Diyarbakır deputy Gülten Kışanak have been mentioned most for this post.

The co-chairperson of the DTP was Emine Ayna, but she is known for her radical views.

Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who is serving a life sentence in the island prison on İmralı in the Sea of Marmara, criticized Ayna at his last meeting with his lawyers for not honoring “Turks and Kurds’ joint struggle for democracy.” But it turned out that Fırat News, which publishes Öcalan’s lawyers’ notes, did not publish the parts related to Ayna.

Öcalan also urged the DTP deputies, who had already decided to resign after their party was closed down, to stay in Parliament. Another PKK leader, Murat Karayılan, opposed Öcalan’s view and said the decision to resign was a principle and should be obeyed.

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