ISTANBUL – The general co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), in their victory speech last night in Istanbul, said the HDP victory belongs to all those who want to live freely in Turkey and the Middle East—but especially to women.
The room was packed at Istanbul’s Cezayir Restaurant to hear party general co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ speak in the wake of the HDP’s historic elections victory. Selahattin Demirtaş, speaking first, began his speech by calling attention to the violent attacks on the HDP and noting that it was in spite of the opposition of the AKP, with all its state resources, that the party won. He emphasized that it was volunteers, not a “higher mind,” behind the victory.
“This is not our success; this is the victory of all peoples in the Middle East. We believe that this victory will change balances in the Middle East,” he said. He said the victory belonged “to all oppressed ethnic identities and religions such as Alevis, Sunnis, Christians and Jews in Turkey. This victory belongs to workers, unemployedPEOPLE, villagers, farmers and all others whose labor is exploited,” he said. “Foremost, this victory belongs to women and everyone else who want to live honorably in this country.”
His counterpart, Figen Yüksekdağ, also started her speech by first thanking all those who worked in the elections campaign, particularly women and youth.
Calling the 10% elections threshold in Turkey, a law written by the coup junta in 1980, “a shameful document and historical mortgage pushed on the people of Turkey,” Figen Yüksekdağ said that: “We saved our own rights from being taken hostage. We created our own freedom ourselves. The result we’re seeing is not just that the 10% elections threshold is overcome, but that it’s been forcefully destroyed. We demolished this threshold all together. Today, in the streets, it was the passionate labor and decisiveness of our people that demolished it.”
She said the people no longer wanted to be ruled. “Those being ruled don’t want a single man or a single party anymore; they want to be plural and to share,” she said.
The party responded to any concern about whether the HDP would stand behind its campaign promises. Addressing, “strategic” voters who voted for the party primarily to take down the AKP, Selahattin Demirtaş vowed that the party would work hard to make them sincere HDP supporters. Those who lost theirLIVES, their limbs, their family members or their freedom in the campaign were also not forgotten.
“We also offer our condolences to the families of all our friends who lost their lives due to provocations during the election campaign period,” said Selahattin Demirtaş. “Our friends who lost their body parts during the Amed massacre deserve this victory the most. We dedicate our victory to Kurdish mothers whose hearts remain broken and wounded. Hundreds of our friends have been injured or arrested recently; we thank every single one of them.”