HDP Plans to Hold ‘Autonomy’ Rallies Amid Tensions

HDP Party Spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen. (Source: Hurriyet Daily News)
HDP Party Spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen. (Source: Hurriyet Daily News)

HDP Party Spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen. (Source: Hurriyet Daily News)

ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily News) — The Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is planning to hold rallies in favor of “autonomy” and “self-rule” before the end of January, at a time when one of its co-chairs is being investigated over his call for greater Kurdish self-governance.

The HDP’s general convention is scheduled to be held on Jan. 24 and the party will hold a conference before the convention along with its constituents, HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan. 4.

“Autonomy” and “self-rule,” two concepts embraced at a recent convention of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an association of Kurdish political organizations, will also be discussed during this conference, Bilgen added.

At the convention held in late December, the DTK released a declaration calling for self-rule in Turkey’s southeast, escalating political tensions at a time of renewed clashes between the security forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas was one of the participants in a two-day congress of Kurdish groups that called for more self-governance, during which he said “There will be a Kurdistan in the next century and it could include an independent state.” A prosecutor opened an investigation into Demirtas on Dec. 28 over his call, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said over the weekend that he supports criminal probes into HDP leaders over their comments about self-rule.

HDP spokesperson Bilgen said the HDP would hold rallies under the motto “Autonomies and Democratic Turkey.” He said the exact schedule of rallies would be set at a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting of the party scheduled to take place later on Jan. 4.

“Our general project for Turkey is democratization. Therefore, whatever is on the agenda concerning ways to carry out this democratization will be discussed,” Bilgen added.

The HDP plans to hold workshops and town-hall meetings on “autonomy” and “self-rule,” particularly focusing on Turkey’s western provinces.


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