The obstacle to the institutionalization of fascism in Turkey: HDP – Tuncay Yilmaz*

Erdoğan, who has been in power for 19 years, is leading Turkey step by step toward fascism. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which won %13.5 of the votes in the June 7, 2015 elections, deprived Erdoğan’s AKP of enough parliamentary seats to guarantee a vote of confidence for a single party government. Erdoğan, however, did not respect the election results and plunged the country into complete chaos.

Refusing to accept defeat, Erdoğan ordered the dissolution of the parliament with a controversial decision and called snap elections on November 1. This decision was accompanied by a fierce wave of attacks and provocations against all opposition figures in the country, especially the HDP.

About a month after the June election, a suicide bombing was carried out in Suruç against socialist youth who were bringing toys to the children in Kobane. 33 people were killed in the attack, and dozens were seriously injured.

Before the pain of the Suruç massacre subsided, another suicide attack occurred in Ankara on October 10 against the peace rally organized by DİSK, KESK, the Turkish Medical Association, TMMOB and HDP. The attack killed 107 people, mostly HDP supporters, and injured nearly 1,000.

Although both attacks were claimed by IS, it turned out that the attackers were actually people whom the state knew and followed, they had been previously detained and released despite documented connections and massacre plans.

Before his defeat on June 7, Erdogan had said, “keep us in government so that this ends without bloodshed.” When he could not come to power, he did shed blood and thus won the Nov. 1 election by means of oppression and electoral fraud.

Fascist AKP-MHP Alliance

The AKP and MHP bloc, which came to power through electoral fraud, found an opportunity to consolidate their power with the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The Erdoğan government allowed the unfolding of the coup attempt by the military and civilian group controlled by the Fethullah Gülen community, only to suppress it easily and take the benefit to declare a “state of emergency” in Turkey.

The state of emergency, which is still in effect and was recently extended, handed over all authority in the country to one man, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Parliament has been completely bypassed and rendered non-functional. Erdogan is now able to change laws as he pleases with a “presidential decree.” Most recently, with such a presidential decree Turkey’s signature was withdrawn from the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence known as Istanbul Convention, which represents an achievement of international women’s struggle.

A barricade against fascism: HDP

The HDP, which most uncompromisingly and stridently opposes the violation of the universal legal norms and concentration of legislative, executive, and judicial powers in the hands of a single leader (“Reis” in Turkish, pronounced as “Re-is”) became the government’s main target in the process. Ten HDP deputies, including the co-chairs (Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ) and thousands (over 5,000) of leaders were arrested.

The HDP, founded by the Kurdish Democratic Movement, socialist, feminist, ecological and democratic groups from Turkey, has become the focal point of resistance against fascism, which Erdoğan wants to institutionalize. The speeches of the deputies in the parliament, the party leaders at the meetings and rallies, the articles they wrote and the tweets they sent were considered crimes and lawsuits were filed against them. When all these proved ineffective, the Kobanê case was opened, targeting HDP as an organisation. The indictment for this case describes HDP as the ” centre for illegal activities.”

And based on this pending case, a lawsuit was filed to close the HDP. These cases, which do not conform to any constitutional or legal norm, are purely political, not legal. The AKP-MHP alliance led by Erdoğan is attacking the HDP with all official and unofficial means of the state, because HDP is the main barrier against the establishment of fascism in Turkey. Not only lawsuits, arrests, and police repression, but also armed attacks against HDP members are carried out by fundamentalist, racist and fascist gangs trained in the Syrian war.

Despite all these attacks, the HDP continues to receive popular support and HDP members continue to fight.

August 2021

* Founder Co-Chair of SYKP