Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party to hold congress

Today, Turkey’s opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), will hold its fourth Ordinary Congress in Ankara. Specifically set up

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Photo: AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilic

Today, Turkey’s opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), will hold its fourth Ordinary Congress in Ankara.

Specifically set up to advocate for Kurdish cultural and political engagement, the HDP gained 8.4% of Turkey’s parliamentary vote in 2018. Given Kurds comprise about 20% of the voters in Istanbul, this shift towards the HDP is a concern for the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Furthermore, the HDP’s propagation of Kurdish culture in particular raises the stake for the AKP. Given the growing momentum for a Kurdish state in neighbouring Iraq, Ankara is concerned that its largest ethnic minority—14 million people—may begin to more stronger align with a pan-Kurdish identity. Thus, HDP activists see the recent arrest of 23 elected Kurdish mayors on charges that they are linked to the terrorist organisation, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, as politically motivated.

In a bid to gain even more of the vote, the HDP is seeking to broaden its appeal beyond the Kurds. As such, Turkey’s largest opposition party, the Republican Peoples’ Party, will also be talking about developing alliances with the HDP today.

Though the HDP only has a small representation in parliament, expect its influence to grow.

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