Empowered Erdogan in exchange for Kurdish status: HDP lawmaker

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) could support President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bid for an executive presidency if he agreed to a political status for the Kurds, said an HDP member on Sunday.

ANKARA, Turkey (Kurdistan24) – Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) could support President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bid for an executive presidency if he agreed to a political status for the Kurds, said an HDP member on Sunday.

The suggestion came from the HDP member of the Turkish Parliament Kadri Yildirim in an interview with Kurdistan24’s Ankara Bureau.

“Our stance is shaped and will continue to be shaped by the Kurdish people’s two indispensable, essential rights. The first, education in the mother tongue; the second, the Kurds’ right to a status within [Turkey’s] unitary system,” said Yildirim.

Yildirim’s remarks were in direct contrast to the official view of his leftist party’s leadership which has since early 2015 adopted the anti-Erdogan slogan “we will not let you become President.”

HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen in a tweet on Monday claimed Yildirim’s statement was a “quote from an old speech.” Bilgen added his party’s view on a government-proposed bill to strengthen the President was “clear.”

Erdogan was elected with nearly 52 percent of a first popular vote in the August 2014 presidential elections.

Before that, Presidents, whose post is constitutionally largely-symbolic, used to be elected by the lawmakers.

Since then, he has effectively acted as the executive head of state, subordinating two Prime Ministers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which he founded, and the Parliament in pursuit of empowering his office.

HDP’s now-imprisoned Co-chair Selahattin Demirtas who was one of Erdogan’s two rivals during the 2014 elections, opposed Erdogan’s ambitions as a precursor to one-man rule.

The Turkish sociologist and long-time proponent of a sovereign state of Kurdistan in the Middle East Ismail Besikci, on the other hand, criticized HDP’s policy.

Besikci said executive presidency could be bargained for Kurdish autonomy with Erdogan in a June interview with BBC Turkish.

On Dec. 10, the AKP and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) reached an agreement on a bill to change the constitution.

The bill paved the way for the transfer of cabinet’s powers and those of the Parliament to Erdogan.

An MHP spokesperson praised the deal for safeguarding Turkish as the sole official language and constitution’s definition of a citizen as a Turk.

 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

(Azad Altun conducted the interview with Kadri Yildirim in Ankara)