Full text of the HDP statement on Öcalan’s letter

"The HDP will not choose sides between the two historical blocs in politics in Turkey and will continue its Third Path strategy in a determined and persistent manner."

Co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) shared their views and assessments following the statement made by Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan through his lawyers earlier today.

Full text of the statement by HDP Co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli is as follows;

1. The HDP is a symbol of democratic politics and democratic negotiation. Mr. Öcalan’s statements regarding the HDP, the representative of a new manner of politics in Turkey, carry a much greater historical meaning and depth than the day-to-day political calculations and election polemics of the ruling party.

2. The HDP aims for society’s democratic transformation via a culture of democratic negotiation. It strives for the realization of a democratic alliance and the success of the struggle for democracy and peace. For these reasons, it perceives Mr. Öcalan’s statements in the same context as vital and valuable for the struggle for democracy and peace. We expect all sections of society, including both the ruling party and the opposition, to share the same democratic approach in solving problems.

3. Mr. Öcalan has very restricted means to express his views and thoughts, and he continues to be held in isolation at the İmralı Island Prison –under such circumstances, any statement which renders Mr. Öcalan’s words related to a specific historical context the instrument of partial or impartial, biased or unbiased daily political calculations and election politics will weaken the possibility of a solution on a democratic political platform of our social problems, first and foremost among them the democratic solution of the Kurdish issue, and also harm the struggle for democracy and peace.

4. One must not forget that Mr. Öcalan is among the architects of the founding ideas of the HDP, which occupies a significant political position in the struggle for democracy and peace. Mr. Öcalan is one of the most important addressees of the democratic solution of the Kurdish issue and social peace, therefore this short-term, self-seeking and unethical stance regarding Mr. Öcalan will also disrupt Turkey’s struggle for peace, justice, equality and freedom. In order for an alliance for a democratic constitution and the culture of democratic consensus aiming at a social contract of living together on the basis of equal citizenship to take root, everyone must determine their own approach on the basis of law, justice, universal values and free politics, whatever their side may be.

5. The irresponsible stance of AA, the Anadolu Agency, which now operates as an agency of the ruling party, is noteworthy in the way that it tramples on journalistic ethics for the sake of political gain. The stance of AA is also proof of the judicial insecurity and violation at İmralı. The fact that a letter, under the responsibility of the prosecutor’s office and the prison administration, which had only just reached its addressee, can be leaked to AA is proof of the unlawful and unethical situation that has continued for 20 years. This arbitrariness is precisely what democratic public opinion should focus on. The fact that AKP Chairperson and President Erdoğan seeks to pit our party against Mr. Öcalan by using this letter that was unethically leaked to the AA displays his pragmatist and desperate manner of politics.

6. As Mr. Öcalan states in the Third Path Strategy and call that he put together, the HDP does not take sides in the milieu of polarization between the Cumhur (People) Alliance and the Millet (Nation) Alliance. One cannot overlook the fact that a dictating manner of politics that adopts a contentious and polarizing language to describe everything in ‘black-and-white’ on the basis of antagonism, accompanied by a clear strategy of tension, will exacerbate all problems including the Kurdish issue, exhaust means of a democratic solution and eventually begin to destroy all possibility of living together. In place of the arrogant and oppressive language that has left its mark on the pre-election process, and instead of a contentious and polarizing manner of politics, introducing a convincing language and a democratic manner of politics, solving problems with methods of democratic negotiation and developing a culture of democratic consensus will also become the first steps towards a new political climate.

7. The broader political perspective of Mr. Öcalan’s statement is very clear, his statement says, “You are the third path”. What HDP describes as the ‘third path’ is the path of democracy, the path of peace. It is the path on which all sections of society meet on the common ground of democracy.

8. HDP is against oppression, injustice and tyranny –wherever it comes from. The political strategies and tactics we have adopted seek to weaken the AKP government that has increasingly adopted an oligarchical character the more it has gathered strength, and to enable a return to democratic values. Our strategy also aims to draw all forces of social opposition to a position of democratic sensitivity regarding all the problems Turkey faces, first and foremost among them, the Kurdish issue. In this regard, Mr. Öcalan’s statement overlaps with the HDP’s political approach. Both Mr. Öcalan and the HDP are committed to democratic politics and propose that the solution to Turkey’s political and social problems is approached in a manner that is not reducible merely to the upcoming Istanbul elections.

9. The HDP will not choose sides between the two historical blocs in politics in Turkey and will continue its Third Path strategy in a determined and persistent manner: On this basis, in the context of the Istanbul municipal elections, there is no change in the HDP’s election strategy or tactical steps.