Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation
imageThe rise of the HDP has brought new hope for a peaceful solution in Turkey.EPA/Sedat Suna

The resounding success of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey’s recent election has raised hope for the pro-Kurdish movement in the country.

While the HDP took 13% of the vote, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority, holding onto just 258 of the 276 seats it needed to secure another term of one-party governance. It has been suggested that the reversed fortunes of the AKP are largely a result of Erdoğan’s plan to take power further away from the parliament and bolster his own position if his party won.

The HDP is the result of an alliance between the Democratic Regions Party (BDP) and other smaller pro-Kurdish groups on the left of the political spectrum. Its charismatic leader, human rights lawyer Selahattin Demirtas, promotes a broad, pro-European and social justice agenda. But the party is also particularly committed to achieving reconciliation between the Kurds and the wider population in Turkey.

By reducing support for the AKP, Turkish voters have clearly rejected Erdoğan’s presidentialist, neo-Ottoman project, but will Demirtas succeed in advancing matters on the Kurdish front?

Historic problem

The Kurdish question has been on the political agenda since the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I. The 1920 Treaty of Sèvres offered the Kurds the possibility of independence from Turkey under the auspices of the League of Nations. But that never materialised.

imageHDP supporters wave an image of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.EPA/Sedat Suna

The Turkish War of Independence unfolded between 1919 and 1923 and a new, secular Turkey emerged. Having fought the allies and rejected the Sèvres settlement, Turkey became intent on suppressing any form of ethno-cultural diversity in the name of an ideologically rigid nationalism that admitted of no minorities in the country other than a handful of religious groups of non-Islamic faith. And even these groups were less than fully protected.

The rise of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the 1970s led to a violent conflict with the military in the south-east of the country, and an additional wave of repression for the Kurds more generally. Several pro-Kurdish organisations have been banned ever since, resulting in a string of decisions against Turkey by the European Court of Human Rights.

The violence declined with the capture and imprisonment of PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999. But it was not until recently that the government officially began talks (initially mediated by Norway) with the PKK and other pro-Kurdish representatives – and a ceasefire was announced.

Looking ahead

Since 2002, the prospect of Turkey’s accession to the European Union has led the Erdoğan government to give ground to the Kurdish minority. Kurdish culture and identity was allowed to be acknowledged in TV broadcasting and even to be taught in schools.

Despite this progress, the prospect of a permanent political settlement has remained elusive. But, now that the HDP has secured a place in parliament, a new constructive phase in the peace process could be on the horizon.

The HDP has moved away from the separatist ambitions formerly associated with the Kurdish movement. It is now firmly and openly embracing the language of democracy and human rights as a basis for reconciliation within Turkish society.

Several pro-Kurdish organisations have come to support democratic regional autonomy for Kurdish provinces. Other forms of cultural autonomy have also been suggested for more dispersed Kurds living in western Turkey or adjacent areas. This could include national councils to represent their interests or cross-regional advisory bodies.

The HDP is expected to back some of these aims. In its election manifesto it pledged to support self-rule through regional assemblies, as part of its plans to resolve the Kurdish question.

The stakes are high and at the heart of this political debate will be the chances of fostering a pluralist and inclusive notion of Turkish identity that is capable of accommodating pro-Kurdish, non-separatist visions for the future of the country.

Many hope that international human rights standards and time-honoured constitutional models in Europe and beyond will provide a context for supporting such a transformative process.

Neither exclusionary nationalism nor separatism have proved workable but this vision of the future could offer a viable alternative.

Gaetano Pentassuglia is to lead a team of international independent experts and Turkish academics to support legal and policy discussions about the prospects for autonomy arrangements in Turkey under the auspices of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights at the University of Lund, Sweden.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/where-next-for-the-kurds-after-turkish-election-success-of-hdp-42979

Writers Wanted

How unis can use student housing to solve international student quarantine issues


The floor is lava: after 1.5 billion years in flux, here's how a new, stronger crust set the stage for life on Earth


Play Poker Online Here With The Best Odds


The Conversation


Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

Nisbets’ Collab with The Lobby is Showing the Sexy Side of Hospitality Supply

Hospitality supply services might not immediately make you think ‘sexy’. But when a barkeep in a moodily lit bar holds up the perfectly formed juniper gin balloon or catches the light in the edg...

The Atticism - avatar The Atticism

Buy Instagram Followers And Likes Now

Do you like to buy followers on Instagram? Just give a simple Google search on the internet, and there will be an abounding of seeking outcomes full of businesses offering such services. But, th...

News Co - avatar News Co

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion