ANKARA: Following the formation of breakaway parties from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a new political party has appeared on the Turkish domestic scene with pro-Kurdish credentials.
However, experts think the move is a ruse to take votes from the pro-minority Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – which will benefit the ruling government.
The newly formed Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), whose chair is Resit Akinci, will be the 92nd political party in Turkey.
The party is still waiting for the official approval of its registration, since having the word “Kurdish” in its name has always been contentious.
However, Turkish opposition figures are skeptical about the motives for founding a new Kurdish movement in Turkey when HDP continuously faces police crackdowns, with its former chairs and elected mayors still behind bars.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in an interview on Dec. 4: “The government is trying to found a second party and divide the HDP, since they could not lure the latter to their side.” The KDP has denied this.
A Kurdish expert in Diyarbakir, who asked to remain anonymous, said the party is founded to support the electoral People’s Alliance between the AKP and the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ahead of 2023, when the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held.
Savci Sayan, the AKP mayor of the eastern city of Agri, recently said that Kurds are set to establish a new party and will support People’s Alliance.
“Those who stand against the HDP, those who reject terror, those who are conservative and support the unity of the country will establish a new party and will give their backing to People’s Alliance. It is a fresh and certain information. Let’s hope for the best,” he tweeted on Nov. 18.
The party’s chair claimed that KDP will appeal to the Kurdish conservative youth and will try to preserve a young profile. The party is set to open its first branch in the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakir on Dec. 14, opening further branches before the new year. They hope to stand in elections in the near future.
“KDP will be politically in line with Mustafa al-Barzani’s political thought. They don’t have so many influential people in their ranks and they won’t be able to break into the HDP electorate in key places in south-eastern region, such as Hakkari and Sirnak,” the anonymous expert said.
Barzani was the great Kurdish military leader of the last century who tried to create an independent nation for the Kurds living on the borders of Iran, Iraq, and the Soviet Union.
Rojda Sahin, 32, a young Kurdish voter in Diyarbakir, confirms experts’ assessments about the possible effect of such political formations.
“I think this party, like similar ones which were established in the past, will remain marginal in the eyes of Kurdish youth. We are smart enough to see the underlying motives of such moves,” she told Arab News. “We had never heard the name of the KDP chair until recently. No one knew him in local politics.”