Systemic Oppression as the Basis for Erdoğan’s ‘New Turkey’

The shotgun attack on the HDP office in the city of Izmir on 17 June, in which a 20-year-old woman Deniz Poyraz, the daughter of a party employee, was killed, is the latest in a series of attacks against Turkey’s biggest left-wing opposition party. It occurred in a very heated political climate fostered by the Turkish government.

The European representatives of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have issued a report outlining Erdoğan’s systematic attack on all elements of the democratic opposition, in particular the HDP, the third largest party in the Turkish parliament. The report covers the period from the 2015 parliamentary elections, the first in which the HDP ran, until the recent indictment filed by the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Appeals seeking to dissolve the HDP and to impose a political ban on hundreds of its members.

The party passed the 10% electoral threshold at the first general elections after its founding in 2012 (13% in the June 2015 Turkish parliamentary elections). This was a setback for the ruling AKP in its attempt to establish authoritarian rule. In order to re-claim its absolute majority, President Erdoğan announced snap elections (held in November 2015) and ran a highly aggressive campaign – according to the present HDP report, the beginning of ‘a new chapter in the Turkish political landscape’, a ‘new Turkey’.

Despite severe repression, the Turkish government has so far decisively failed to weaken the HDP. Although the party’s share of the vote fell slightly in the November 2015 and 2018 elections (compared to June 2015), it was still able to hold its ground. Currently, as HDP officials have stated, more than 4,000 party members, including MPs and co-mayors, have been imprisoned, with thousands more forced into exile. Even though a ‘lack of democracy in Turkey is by no means a new problem’, as the report states, the ‘intimidation of the democratic opposition, prosecution of the HDP, and extermination of any remnant of civil society’ has reached a new high in the ‘new Turkey’.

Please find the report on the right/at the bottom (mobile version) in ‘Documents’ for download (English, PDF).

See also:

–          Statement of the President of the Party of the European Left, Heinz Bierbaum, on the attack against the HDP

–          Growing crackdown on Turkey’s left-wing opposition, Ismail Küpeli