BastA! in solidarity with the HDP

A delegation of the HDP has visited Switzerland and met with politicians of the party "Basel's strong alternative".

A delegation of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) met the co-presidents of the Basel Strong Alternative (BastA!) party, Sina Deiss and Miriam Wieteska-Zimmerli, on Wednesday. The reason for the delegation trip of Feleknas Uca, Tülay Hatimoğulları and Nejdet Ipekyüz is the closure case against the HDP in Turkey, as a result of which not only the third-largest parliamentary group would be banned, but also a long-term ban on political activity would threaten about 450 politicians.

"It is our concern to make international solidarity practical and to inform the democratic forces of Switzerland and Europe about our situation," Feleknas Uca, the co-spokesperson of the HDP Commission for Foreign Relations, explained in the conversation.

Currently, the Erdogan government is conducting two key political trials against the HDP and its representatives. "More than 1,200 requests for lifting of parliamentary immunity have been filed against HDP deputies and around 4,000 people have been arrested," reported HDP deputy Tülay Hatimoğulları.

"It is the duty of all democratic parties not to watch silently as those who were summoned by Erdogan himself between 2013 and 2015 to mediate in the peace process around the Kurdish question are now criminalized for this role," said Sina Deiss, co-president BastA!

The ongoing Kobanê trials also follow a logic of scapegoating. When Kobanê was besieged by ISIS in 2014, the Turkish military prevented the Kurdish neighbors from helping and thus indirectly supported ISIS. In response, the HDP called for protests in which 43 people died. However, the accused are now not the commanders of the Turkish security forces who are responsible for the deaths, but 106 other people, including the entire former HDP executive committee, in addition to the then co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.

Political goals of the HDP

The delegation's discussions focused not only on the legal repression the HDP faces, but also on key political goals. "Since the staged coup in 2016, democracy has been visibly dismantled. Our goal is to rebuild democracy and political participation for all people," said Nejdet Ipekyüz, HDP deputy from Batman. Tülay Hatimoğulları stated that rejoining the Istanbul Convention is also an important issue to enable women's social and political participation.

"As a feminist, ecological and democratic party, we support the political goals of the HDP and strongly condemn the legal proceedings that serve as a cover for political erasure attempts," Franziska Stier, party secretary of BastA! said, summarizing the situation. BastA! is aware that these political disputes leave scars not only in the parliaments, but among all population groups within Turkey. Therefore, she said, it is necessary to resume peace negotiations and to enter into a process of democratization that takes all ethnicities, genders and religions with it. Switzerland not only has competence in accommodating four language groups under one roof on an equal footing, but also conflict resolution competence. It could play a proactive and mediating role in the interests of sustainable and just peace in the Middle East," explained Miriam Wieteska-Zimmerli, co-president of BastA!