At the end of March, journalist, historian and author David Morgan travelled to Istanbul with Father Joe Ryan, Chair of the Westminster Diocese Peace and Justice Commission, for five days to observe Turkey’s municipal elections and meet with party representatives, journalists and lawyers.
Whilst in Istanbul, David Morgan and Father Ryan joined other international election monitors from across Europe to assess the conduct of the election process on the day. They also met with representatives from the BDP and the Free Democratic Party (HDP), as well as prominent human rights defenders and lawyers from the on-going KCK trial against Abdullah Ocalan’s legal team.
Their initial observations about the success of the HDP, irregularities on polling day and the success of women candidates in both the HDP and BDP were noted in a press release the day after the elections.
On their return, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign organised a public meeting to discuss their visit, the elections, and the implications of the results on the peace process. They also produced a report, Turkey after the Elections – Prospects for the Peace Process and Opportunities for the Kurds, in which they report back on allegations of election fraud, blackouts and burned ballots, as well as the new role of the HDP as the sister party to the BDP, which was established for the purpose of widening the support base and contributing to the further democratisation of Turkey.