*We will be collecting signatures for this open letter over the next two weeks, after which we will publish it and send a copy to HDP representatives in Turkey. If you would like to add your name to our open letter, please contact us using the information below.
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 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.
Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Margaret Owen OBE; Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer;Prof Mary Davis; Nick Hildyard, policy adviser, Stephen Smellie, PIK trade union liaison officer; Dr Derek Wall and UNISON Lanarkshire; International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales; Hanzala Malik, Labour MSP
For more information on the election and the delegation
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Sirinathsingh – Tel: 020 7272 7890 Fax: 020 7263 0596