Demirtaş message on the occasion of the 3rd Ordinary Congress of the HDP

The message of our Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş shared with the public by our Co-Chair Serpil Kemalbay today in Diyarbakır:

To my esteemed friends, honourable members of our party, and the esteemed public of our country;

I would first like to send each and every single one of you my greetings, my love and yearning from Edirne Prison. For over a year now, I have been unlawfully held as a political hostage, along with thousands of my friends. I have not once faced a judge in the more than 30 court cases against me, and the motive for this treatment against me can only be described as thuggery, and political revenge. 

I would like all of you to know that I, my friends and my party belived in democratic politics from the heart. We have struggled and we continue struggle for the democratization of the Republic within the unity of Turkey; for the realization of the virtues of peace, justice, equality and freedom, to bring an end to the exploitation of the oppressed working class, women and young people, and for Kurds, Turks, Sunnis and Alevis to live together peacefully as sisters and brothers.

There is no doubt that our political vision, our stance, our discourse and our action are different compared to many other political parties. We did not practice politics for personal gain, to capture seats of power, or for the benefit of our family or close circle. Each one of us is a member of the oppressed classes in Turkey, and it was alongside our oppressed and impoverished people that we paid many a price to bring our party to the powerful position it holds today. Despite unfounded, unlawful and immoral accusations and attacks of dirty propaganda carried out from sources around the ruling party, we are neither separatists, nor terrorists.

We are the children of a people who have put up a struggle to develop democracy across every square-centimetre of Turkey, who are a true component and part of Turkey. Many politicians and mayors clustered around the ruling party are not being tried although they have swindled trillions of liras in a cesspool of corruption, theft and profiteering; while thousands of my friends and I are being held in prison in an unjust and unlawful manner.

We have always taken pride in paying such a price for our people, we always said that it was a great honour. We prefer to be held captive on behalf of our people rather than stealing from our people, or betraying and persecuting our people. I sincerely believe that, by standing together, in democracy, as the whole of society in Turkey, we will overcome these current days when Turkey is being ruled by State of Emergency, an anti-democratic regime of oppression. I have no doubt that my party, the HDP, of which I am the acting Co-Chair, will contribute more than ever to this journey of democracy in Turkey.

At its Ordinary Congress to be held on February 11, our party will carry out the beginning of a new movement in democratic politics; will nourish hope against pessimism and will continue on its path, stronger than ever, saying, “HDP again, HDP once more”. Our Congress will present us with an important opportunity to put our last two years on the table, and examine both our positives and negatives. Without compromising its main political trajectory, program and path, the HDP will enter the next two years as the best-prepared political party with its new discourses, new actions and new staff.

I, personally, will continue to do all I can for the success of the HDP, our party that we have created with so much great effort. Whatever my circumstances may be, I will continue to be a servant of the democracy struggle, at the command of my party and my people.

In order to strengthen our Party Assembly, Central Executive Committee and other administrative organs, changes will be made at our Ordinary Congress to be held on February 11. I would like it to be known in advance that I will not stand as a candidate for Co-Chair at this congress, so we can meet the new period of political struggle more powerfully, consolidate the culture of democracy within democratic politics, develop an awareness of practicing politics not for status or position but on behalf of the people, and to continue on our path with new friends and with new excitement.

We are not people of status or high office, but people of duty and responsibility. Even if my official position does not even legally permit me to become a member, I will not, for a single second, hold back from serving the HDP and you, my esteemed people, with the responsibility, awareness and excitement of a Co-Chair, and as always, try to do the best I can. I invite all young people and women who believe and are interested in democratic politics, and have confidence in themselves to join and take responsibility at the HDP.

Do not forget that I, 27 years ago, as the son of a poor worker, took part in the struggle for freedom, and I served, only with the support and belief of the people, as Co-Chairperson for 8 years. 

You do not need money, power or a tribe to practice politics in our party. To possess courage and a love for the people in your heart is sufficient. The HDP is a true party of the people, and the fact that it has managed to remain standing, and gain in power in the face of all manners of attacks is the clearest proof that the HDP will not be toppled. The HDP has always been a party of principles, not a party of individuals or leaders. And that is how it will continue from now on, too.

As we approach our Congress, I invite all our party members and our people to become part of the debate in the most powerful manner with their proposals and criticism whether at local conferences or during the progress of the congress. I invite you all to take our party to our Great Congress with great motivation and excitement, as if we were preparing for elections, as if we were preparing for a festive occasion. On February 11, members of the HDP from all over Turkey will flow to Ankara, and peace, freedom and fraternity will give a message of resistance against fascism.,

I salute you with my warmest sentiments as I send you these thoughts, I express, in advance, my best wishes for Turkey and our peoples on the occasion of the Great Congress of the HDP, and add: ‘We Will Win, No Matter What’.

Selahattin Demirtaş
Peoples’ Democratic Party Co-Chair 
Edirne Prison
4 January 2018