The campaign to delegitimize the Kurdish political movement has targeted all its components, drawing on emergency powers since the failed putsch last summer. After close to 9,000 detentions, some 2,800 HDP members remain behind bars awaiting trial. Seventy-four DBP mayors have been imprisoned, while public servants have been appointed as trustees to run 61 of the party’s local administrations. No doubt, this is a staggering toll. Yet, the HDP and the BDP retain their representative strength and thus remain vital for any democratic order and any future effort to peacefully solve the Kurdish problem. This makes a few questions all the more important: What course will the two parties now take? What is their objective, and how do they view the future?
HDP lawmaker Mithat Sancar told Al-Monitor, “The party’s branches are largely paralyzed due to the arrests. We are mostly trying to sustain a basic agenda, which is the preservation of the idea of democratic politics and a negotiated settlement. The fact that the HDP still exists means that the idea of democratic politics is still alive. We are organizing popular meetings and trying to explain this to the people, especially to the young. We are trying to sustain the bonds between politics and society.”
Nazmi Gur, a member of the HDP’s Foreign Relations Committee, also stressed the party’s commitment to democratic politics. He told Al-Monitor, “Demirtas has kept sending two messages from prison: Uphold the sphere of legal politics and insist on democratic means, [in other words] stay in parliament, no matter how many deputies are left.”