BDP forced to review stance against constitutional reforms

August 13, 2010, Friday/ 17:31:00
The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has been reviewing its position on an upcoming constitutional reform package because its supporters seem likely to vote “yes” in the Sept. 12 referendum on the reforms, despite the fact that the party has called for a boycott of the referendum.

BDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş said that if the government takes steps to meet their demands they would review their boycott decision. Many Kurdish observers have said this change in position is a result of the demands of the party’s grassroots supporters. Bayram Bozyel, leader of the Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR), said they did not like the idea of boycotting the referendum. “There is no explanation about why they will boycott the referendum. Even if the reforms are not complete and satisfactory, Kurds will approve them at the ballot box. So the BDP is looking for a way out of this situation,” Bozyel said, adding that a political party that claims to be pro-democracy cannot be against change.

İbrahim Aksoy, one of the founders of the now-defunct People’s Labor Party (HEP), said the BDP must have realized that the Kurdish public would not listen to their calls for a boycott of the referendum. “They have seen that the public would not listen to their orders,” he said. Aksoy also noted that he disagreed with BDP’s attitude of introducing demands when there is not much time left before the referendum. He added that there is nothing that can harm the Kurdish people in the reform package. Fehmi Demir, who is among the founders of the Democracy and Change Party (DDP), said that if the BDP stops its boycott of the referendum it would be beneficial to the party.

“They be would doing the right thing,” he said. “Since their decision to boycott the referendum has not been met happily by the public, they might be changing their attitude.” Kurdish writer Ümit Fırat agrees. “Even though Ahmet Türk rallies against the referendum, I don’t think he believes in what he is asking for in his heart,” he said, adding that the BDP should adopt a more flexible policy to avoid encouraging “chaos” in society.

The BDP has argued that the amendments that will be voted on in the reform are not sufficient to bring Turkey’s Constitution up to democratic standards and that the public should therefore abstain from voting to demand an entirely new document.

National
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