On March 17, 2021, the far-right Turkish government, led by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), began maneuvering to dissolve the left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and exorcise its leaders from political life. First, it stripped MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu of his parliamentary immunity, dragged him out of parliament, and took him into custody, all on trumped-up charges of “propaganda for a terrorist organization.” His crime was retweeting a 2016 news report calling for a peace agreement with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The state then took legal action to have its courts dissolve the party and ban its leadership from taking public office, again for its “association with the PKK.”
Turkish state repression of HDP is nothing new: By February 2020, the Turkish government had ousted the HDP from 40 of the 65 municipalities it had won, placing them under the control of government-appointed trustees. This is clearly a cynical and undemocratic ploy by right-wing forces to undermine the popular left-wing party; a party that was instrumental in ending AKP’s one-party rule; a party that is adamantly pro-LGBT, pro-worker, pro-Kurdish, and a defender of human and minority rights.
DSA’s International Committee (IC) is committed to internationalism, anti-imperialism, working-class solidarity, and opposes all forms of ultranationalism. As such, we stand with the pro-democratic and socialist forces in the nation and oppose rising fascism as embodied by the “People’s Alliance” between the AKP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The IC calls on DSA’s 85,000+ members to educate themselves on the circumstances and plight of the HDP, to appeal to local consulates and embassies on their behalf where appropriate, and to join efforts led by Turkish and Kurdish citizens and diaspora populations to defend the HDP and what vestiges of democracy remain in Turkey.