Over 100 prominent politicians, writers, academics, lawyers and activists signed open letter in support of HDP in Turkey’s coming elections on 7 June
Later this week, people in Turkey will vote in a general election whose outcome will determine the future direction and nature of the country for perhaps generations. The increasingly authoritarian approach of Erdogan’s presidency and the political dominance of his AKP will either be further endorsed or brought to a halt.
The HDP is seen as offering the greatest hope for a shift towards a more democratic, inclusive alternative. The HDP stands for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish problem in Turkey, as well as democratisation, inclusiveness and openness that are attracting strong support from communities well beyond the party’s core base of supporters among the Kurds and the left.
In response to the coming election on June 7, over one hundred respected politicians, writers, academics, human rights activists, journalists and lawyers from around the world have supported an appeal in the form of an open letter calling for support for the HDP and for the world’s media to pay attention to this crucial election.
The open letter also expresses concerns about the potential for voting irregularities that might fix the outcome to prevent the HDP from surmounting the vital 10% threshold to ensure that it can win seats in the Turkish Parliament. This will be a disaster for the country and must be prevented.
Here is our appeal in full below:
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Open Letter in support of People’s Democratic Party (HDP)
Support the HDP in the coming elections in Turkey
Much is at stake in the 7 June general election in Turkey.
The poll is being seen as a possible landmark in the country’s recent political history, not least because it presents an important opportunity to secure crucial support for the peace process which is a key campaign platform of the HDP.
The ruling AKP needs to win at least 367 seats in the election in order to change the constitution in the way that it wishes. President Erdogan’s objective is to use the election to move forward with his aim of establishing a new constitution where the presidency will be given sweeping new powers. ”We should turn these elections into an opportunity for the new constitution and presidential system on the path to the new Turkey,” he has stated.
However, in the run up to the elections the AKP and Erdogan have chosen to adopt a much more hostile attitude towards the peace process than hitherto which is an alarming development given that it was they who had initiated the peace process in the first place by permitting talks to go ahead between Abdullah Ocalan and Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, with the HDP playing a central mediating role.
The AKP must not be allowed to play politics with the peace process nor backtrack on its commitments. A strong showing for the HDP will be interpreted as a vote for the peace process and it is therefore vital that the party is able to maximise its appeal.
The challenge that the HDP confronts in this election, however, is going to be formidable and should not be underestimated because in this poll for the very first time, the HDP will be running as a party in its own right instead of standing independent candidates as in previous elections in order to avoid the 10 percent election threshold.
This is a high risk strategy for the HDP as it only achieved 6.5 percent of the vote in the last general election held in 2011. Should the party fail to gain representation in Parliament it will be regarded as a severe blow to the peace process with which the party is so closely associated.
In order to maximise its voting potential and have a chance to make historic gains in the election, the HDP needs first of all to be allowed to campaign freely to get its progressive and peace message across to the country’s electorate.
The party needs to be able to operate without the legal and political obstructions that it has faced on previous elections where polling irregularities and other abuses have been well documented. To ensure that there is a fair system the HDP needs to be given support by politicians abroad who can, for example, show their solidarity by becoming independent election observers.
Peace in Kurdistan urges friends of the Kurds and supporters of the peace process – particularly politicians, lawyers, rights activists and journalists – to take the necessary action to ensure that the HDP has the possibility to make a major political breakthrough in the coming election. We urge you to monitor the election closely and join our UK observer delegation from 4-9 June 2015 to Diyarbakir (Amed) in Turkey and consider how you may support the HDP which is campaigning for peace and reconciliation between Turks and Kurds.
The peace process has moved to a new level in the immediate run up to the election with the proposals issued by Abdullah Ocalan on the eve of Newroz and the deepening of the mechanisms for a serious negotiated settlement. These positive developments must not be squandered and there must be no backtracking. The outcome of the coming election will have a crucial bearing on the outcome of these talks and the fortune of the Kurds.
Noam Chomsky; Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Margaret Owen OBE, Director of WPD; Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, John Berger, novelist, painter, poet; Bruce Kent, Vice-President, Pax Christi; Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer; Prof Mary Davis; Nick Hildyard, policy adviser, Stephen Smellie, PIK trade union liaison officer and UNISON Lanarkshire; Dr Derek Wall, International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales; Amelia Womack, deputy leader of Green Party; Aonghas MacNeacail, poet, Scotland; Carol Mann, Women in War and Femaid; Radha D’Souza, global justice scholar and democratic rights campaigner, UK; Michael Mansfield QC, President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Kathryn Cameron Porter, Senior Advisor for Iran, Iraq, Syria to Senator Mark Kirk, Leadership Council for Human Rights US; ; Dr. Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer of Political Sociology, The University of Cambridge; John Hunter, writer and journalist; David Morgan, journalist, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign; Les Levidow, CAMPACC; Gordon Peters, Green Party candidate Hornsey and Wood Green, London; Dee Searle, Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Tottenham; Prof Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck College ; Russell Fraser, barrister and chair of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Bronwen Jones, barrister, Mansfield Chambers; ; Judge Essa Moosa, Chair of the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group; Dr Kariane Therese Westrheim, Chair of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Michael Gunter, Professor of Political Science department of Tennessee Tech University; Louise Christian, human rights lawyer; Saleh Mamon, CAMPACC; Desmond Fernandes, genocide scholar and policy analyst; Dafydd Iwan LL. D., Past President, Plaid Cymru; Hywel Williams MP, Plaid Cymru; Kate Osamor MP; Joan Ryan MP; Zaher Baher, Kurdistan Anarchist Forum (personal capacity); Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, linguistic human rights researcher; Yagmur Sutcu, PhD candidate in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Bradford, UK; Azad Dewani, PhD researcher of Peace Studies, UK; Sarah Parker, Haringey Left Unity; Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition; Alistair Lyon, solicitor, Birnberg Peirce solicitors; Matt Foot, solicitor, Birnberg Peirce solicitors; John Hobson, barrister, Doughty Street Chambers; Dr Austin Reid,consultant in international university development; Trevor Rayne, Editorial Board Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism; Rojin Tasman, redactor, Kingsley Napley LLP; Sean Hawkey, journalist; Ali Has, Morgan Has Solicitors; Vasiliki and Christopher Scurfield; Cynthia Cockburn, feminist researcher and author; Amrit Wilson, Freedom without Fear Platform; Glyn Harries, Hackney Trades Council; Barry White, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom; Professor Nadje Al-Ali, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS; Dr Felix Padel, Visiting professor, JNU (university), Delhi, India; Yashar Ismailoglu, Cypriot poet; Jonathan Bloch, human rights activist; Houzan Mahmoud, feminist and political activist, Women’s Freedom for Iraq; Michael Ellman, international human rights consultant; Tony Simpson, Editor, The Spokesman journal, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation; Isabel Käser, PhD candidate SOAS; Paniz Musawi, PhD candidate in Gender Studies and Graduate Teaching Assistant; Joe Ryan, Chair of Westminster Diocese Justice and Peace Commission; Maggie Bowden, General Secretary “Liberation”; Ruth Walter, Older Feminist Network; Rachel Bird, human rights activist; N. Argun Cakir, PhD Candidate in Kurdish Studies, University of Exeter; Robert Aktkins, solicitor; Khatchatur I. Pilikian , Prof. of Music & Art; Dr Johanna Riha, Epidemiologist, University of Cambridge; Stefano Squarzino, Associazione Puntorosso, Italy; Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner; Faiz M Baluch: Baloch political & Human Rights activist; Julia Iglesias “Newroz” Basque-Kurdish Friendship Association in Basque Country; Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles, Research Fellow, Middlesex University; Yuksel Gonul, PhD candidate in Linguistic, Roehampton UK; Stuart M. Gibson III , International Consultant on Museums and Cultural Policy; Harem Karem, journalist; Bob Rossi, US labour and solidarity activist; Alain Hertzmann, Branch secretary London North West Branch 9708, Unitetheunion; Chris den Hond, video-journalist; Dr Andy Higginbottom Secretary Colombia Solidarity Campaign; Isil Altan, Melissa Cowell, Tim Cooper, Pete Radcliffe and Yasim Ghafur on behalf of Nottingham Kurdish Solidarity Campaign; Penny Papadopoulou, freelance journalist NUJ; Richard Haley, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC); Roza Salih, Glasgow Girl – Campaigner and Political Activist. Co-founder of Scottish-Kurdish Society. Vice President Diversity and Advocacy at University of Strathclyde Student’s Association; Elif Sarican, Kurdish Students Union – UK Coordinator, Student and Activist; Jiyan Avesta, Kurdish LGBT activist; Sophia Beatty, political activist; Margaret Manning, Unite the Union NW389; Christopher Loxton, barrister; Dr Zeynep Kurban, Physicist at Imperial College London, Human rights activist.; Hagir Ahmed, human rights campaigner; Hugo Charlton, barrister; Samir Jeraj, freelance journalist; Melanie Sirinathsingh, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign; Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.
For more information on the election and the delegation
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Sirinathsingh – Tel: 020 7272 7890 Fax: 020 7263 0596