The Prime Minister of Turkey and Chairman of governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Ahmet Davutoglu stated during a live interview on Wednesday that “not being able to pass the election threshold is the HDP's problem, not the Kurds', because AK Party already represents everyone in Turkey.”
In Turkey, political parties have to gain 10 percent of the votes in order to enter parliament. This is the first election that Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will participate in as a political party.
The deputy chairman of the HDP, Pervin Buldan warned of political turmoil if the party does not pass the 10 percent electoral threshold on May 27.
In response to Buldan’s statements, PM Davutoglu said that “Passing the electoral threshold does not mean the same thing for the HDP and the Kurdish citizens. Yes, the HDP has doubts about passing the threshold, but the Kurdish people have no problem with that. Are there not our Kurdish candidates in southeast? The AK Party is everyone’s party-Turkish, Kurdish, Alevi, Sunni. The AK Party consists members of different origins and backgrounds. We respect everybody’s cultural and national identities but when it comes to politics, we have one that is the AK Party’s policies.”
Noting that the HDP puts pressure on Kurdish people who do not support them, PM Davutoglu said the HDP selects certain districts to be for Kurds and oppresses the locals. “Also, the HDP does not have toleration for Kurdish people who do not support them. What had happened in Syria was this: when ISIS advanced to the Kurdish city of Kobani, the HDP called for help, but they were silent about the Kurds in Aleppo,” he added.
In October 2014, call of the HDP for a rally in support of the Kurdish city of Kobane in Syria against ISIS advance had sparked violent protests in the southeastern Turkey as demonstrators attacked members of the rival Kurdish party, Free Cause Party (Huda-Par). More than forty people were killed and many were injured in demonstrations throughout Turkey.
“In Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) component of -Turkey’s- outlawed PKK, cannot tolerate existence of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), one of the main Kurdish parties in Iraqi Kurdistan,” said Davutoglu on Wednesday.
Continuing with his statement, Davutoglu said “the PYD exiled groups other than itself. The first refugees who came to us from Syria were the ones running away from the PYD. This is how closed-minded the ideology of PKK is. Now they try to change but this puts them in contradictory position.”
In former general elections, the representatives of the pro-Kurdish party ran as independent candidates in order to be elected since Turkey’s 10 percent electoral threshold is not applied to independents.
The HDP sent 36 independent candidates to parliament in 2011, accounting for 6.5 percent of the vote.
While warning of political turmoil, Buldan had said, “Our failure to reach the 10 percent of vote will mean a new crisis. For instance, if the HDP gains three seats in Hakkari [Turkey’s southeastern province], it will win 90 percent of the vote. The deputies of Hakkari belong to the HDP; but if we cannot pass the election threshold in general, the AK Party will gain those seats. People of Hakkari would not accept that."
The HDP is one of the parties to the peace process aiming to resolve 30 years of armed conflict with the militant PKK.