Our stand towards the government’s recent attacks on the will of the people via the appointment of trustees-kayyım in place of democratically-elected co-mayors was declared with an event in Ankara. Our co-chairs, party assembly members and central executive board members, women- and youth-assemblies’ members, former and present co-mayors, city councillors, MPs, other elected representatives who have been dismissed by the ruling party and the representatives of NGOs attended the event.
Please find below the declaration text read by HDP Co-Chairs Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli:
HDP's declaration towards the government’s recent attacks on the peoples' will
1. It is now apparent that Turkey is now being ruled by a trustee regime. Staging a political coup with State of Emergency by turning the July 15th coup attempt, AKP’s ruling block to which MHP has joined afterwards has started its first move of seizing the will of local administrations. The Presidential Government System is built on a mentality of political coups and trustees.
The trustee policy is a dynamite placed on the foundation of co-existence. On the other hand, the trustee policy which started by disclaiming the election results of June 7th, 2015 and continues to this day is not limited to disregarding the public’s will at the ballot box. This is also the AKP-MHP administration’s policy for self-preservation by means of force and pressure. Disregarding the election result of March 31st, AKP accepts that its social legitimacy is over. An administration built on the trustee mentality is the greatest threat that the idea of democracy and hopes for a democratic future face.
2. This practice of appointing trustees is a hostile move against Kurds. The trustee policy, which has been going on full speed since March 31st elections, is trampling and disregarding of political will of the Kurdish population along with other constituents in the region. The trustee policy aims to destroy both the law and belief in social peace, which is the foundation of the rule of law. This is the prototype of the regime they intend to build. Other policies of the administration, both domestic and foreign, show this attitude’s apparent hostility towards Kurdish people.
3. The right to elect and be elected is the essential condition of a democratic process. Both Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Turkish Constitution accept this. Seizure of the right to elect and be elected is to not recognize or disregard these truths. Seizing the will of constituents in a single province or town is an insult to the will of the society as a whole.
4. Local democracy is the cradle and foundation of democracy. Local democracy, the conception of local and decentralized administration is an essential principle and goal for us. This is among the strongest guarantees against any type of despotism. Without local democracy, no democratic right or freedom can truly flourish and political life would be stuck in the vortex of trusteeship. Thus, each trustee assigned is a clear blow to democracy and a new step towards fascism.
With states of emergency, coups against democratic politics, and trustee coups, AKP has shown that it is the continuation of military coups that preceded it.
5. Democratic, ecological and women’s liberation philosophy which builds the foundation of our model of local democracy is a universal model that also allows co-presidency and gender quality in representation.
We will not allow the co-presidency system, which has its roots in women’s liberation and from which it takes its spirit of equality, to become a tool for perception operations of the government. The co-presidency and equal representation system is among the greatest steps women, who have been fighting for years against of all kinds of patriarchy, monism, disregard and ignorance, have taken towards social transformation. Co-presidency is our purple line and it is among our principles. It is a prerequisite for our claim at a new life. Fully aware that the co-presidency system, which has become the first target of trustee seizures, is a victory for women’s struggle, we are calling on each democratic power which sees its future in democracy, particularly women’s movement, political parties, labor societies, employee associations, democratic mass organizations, and non-governmental organizations to embrace our achievements and transition into the co-presidency and equal representation system.
6. Representatives of the administration themselves do not hide the fact Turkey is being run by a trustee regime and they intend to generalize this regime for every area. Nobody should be fooled by the illusion that the 2023 vision mentioned frequently by the administration is independent of this plan. This project, which aims to render the Parliament meaningless 2020 and the Constitution in 2021, is preparing to announce the regime’s success in 2023.
Opposing trustee policies means all democratic forces working together to defend the Parliament, the constitution of peace between peoples, and most importantly the democratic republic. We will defend our paradigm of Democratic Republic, which is a democratic agreement against wars, exploitation, and coups and the third way politics at the scale of free politics and universal law, to the end.
7. The trustee policy which is being used by the administration to disregard the law and make its palace regime permanent is s ‘Regime of Appointees’ based on tyranny of one man. This administration mindset which excludes the public systematically is pursuing its dream of an administration without its people. It is apparent that this concept makes republic and democracy entirely impossible.
This is seen clearly in the Mardin report prepared by inspectors of Ministry of the Interior. In this report, it has been suggested municipal councils can be elected but mayors should be appointed by the President. The first steps of a system in which municipalities lose their administrative autonomy and connected directly to the ‘Palace Regime’ are being implemented in our municipalities.
8. Seeing trustee policies as solely an attack on HDP, municipalities, and the Kurdish people is being unaware of strategic plans of the administration. Success of this mindset requires silencing all social and political opposition. The administration places us in the crosshair of these attacks, as HDP and Kurdish people’s struggle is the greatest obstacle in their way. The AKP-MHP alliance targets local administrations in order to institutionalize fascism based on a one man regime. Appointing trustees to HDP’s municipalities is among the greatest steps this mindset has taken. For this reason, this is a problem not for HDP and Kurdish people but also anyone living in this country who wants democracy, the rule of law, justice, and peace.
It is apparent that the AKP-MHP alliance will use its central power to remove the most important authorities of all municipalities which limit their political power and unearned income and turn them into an extension of the Palace while the state of emergency is being made permanent and the trustee regime is being institutionalized.
9. The trustee regime is also a regime with which its partisan capital is being fed through shared unearned income. Trustees is a project for building the financial power of the 2023 regime through transferring public resources to its own foundations, institutions, and associations.
Such a regime can only maintain its status and domination through war policies and nationalistic hostilities. The war that has been going on in Northern and Eastern Syria cannot be seen as independent from this framework. The trustee regime is a regime of war. Fight against trustees is a fight for peace.
10. Opinions for withdrawal of HDP from municipalities and the Parliament are being voiced in various circles. These opinions also create the perspective that the trustee policy is a problem only for HDP and Kurdish people whose will has been seized.
It should not be forgotten that HDP did not achieve these victories the easy way. The tyrant palace regime is the greatest proponent of us retreating from this point to which we have come through sacrifice. People in Turkey have witnessed recently that acting together brings success, even if democratic politics has lost too much ground. March 31st and June 23rd elections were held in a time when the AKP-MHP alliance was seen as invincible and the tyrant administration experienced a loss. Now, the AKP-MHP administration is trying to silence its opposition through Hostility against Kurds and tries to polarize our society by using nationalism. The only way through this troubled time is to strengthen democratic struggle and hold our position to the end. This is what will make the AKP-MHP administration lose.
Protecting what the people have won with their lives and labor despite all the pressure and tyranny is our duty. The only deficiency in this regard, if any, is not protecting what has been won effectively. This is an obligation particularly for us but also for anyone who does not raise her/his voice against this monopolistic trustee regime. HDP is ready to assume the leadership role, now more than ever.
11. Our decision is final unless this issue is argued in this manner: HDP will not surrender its achievements which have been won by people of Turkey, mainly Kurdish people, by paying the price. Despite facing a comprehensive, systematic, and multi-faceted attack in all aspects of life including local administrations, HDP will not relent and continue its struggle on democratic and legitimate grounds with great determination. Our goal is to flourish democratic politics, not run it over.
We are persistent in this conception and our unfaltering fight for democracy. We do not suspect for a second that Kurdish people will embrace their own will with no ifs of buts, even if we had a new election tomorrow. Trustees can seize municipality buildings, vehicles, and tools, but they cannot dominate the people’s will and thoughts. Our people will never accept this practice. Our elected officials will try their best to carry out their duties and responsibilities given to them by the people regardless of trustee seizures. Our people will protect their will, elected officials, and party as they have done before. The people will continue their struggle and work alongside us in our fight against injustice.
12. Our Call to the Public: Building a democracy, protecting our achievements and gaining new ones are only possible through collective struggle of democratic forces. As we have seen during the previous local election, we can stop and prevent the trustee regime and one man’s rule together. We can grow the resistance through all out democratic struggle and civil disobedience.
To the International Public: Authoritarian regime planned by Erdogan was first implemented on Kurds. First, the opposition was silenced through attacks on elected officials and the language of Kurds by using perception of security. Afterwards, these tools of oppression spread throughout Turkey. In this regard, anti-democratic practices were not limited to Kurds alone and spread out to almost all corners of the country.
The political picture in Turkey today has the potential to popularize evil and infect other geographies. Erdogan, one of the main reasons behind intensification of the Syrian War, is using displaced immigrants to blackmail the West, which as an irrefutable evidence pointing out to this fact.
An attitude of expectations is not an attitude of democratic politics but of other administrative powers! We call the international public to help us in preserving democratic values against those who wish to destabilize Turkey further and raise their voices against what is being done to HDP.
Our Call to the AKP-MHP Alliance: As we have seen in March 31st and June 23rd elections, this administration which has lost the support of the masses along with its social legitimacy cannot govern the public by seizing the will of its people or by resorting to illegal and illegitimate methods. We are calling for an ‘early election’ in order to rescue people of Turkey from the tyranny of AKP-MHP. This is a call for defiance. We are challenging you! We are calling all opposition to rally around this demand for early election and move in unison.
We are at the dawn of the day when we need to assume our historical responsibilities regardless of our identity or religion. This historical responsibility is too precious to be lost to worries of preservation or cheap political motives by being carried away by political arguments or identities. In that spirit and conscience, we as HDP call each opposition party, non-governmental organization, union, employee association, and democratic foundation wishing democracy, peace, and justice instead of oppressive and fascist conceptions in this geography to active solidarity, united struggle, and an alliance of democracy.
20 November 2019