SUAT – HDP: In or out?

HDP: In or out?In light of what we know now, the most critical question of the June 7 election will be whether or not the pro-Kurdish Peopleand#39s Democracy Party (HDP) will be able to pass the 10 percent threshold quotaUndoubtedly, the answer to this question carries with it a number of important implications. The HDP entering Parliament as a party would change the political balance in the Southeast dramatically.

Many Justice and Development Party (AK Party)andidates will not be able to enter Parliament. Also, there is a good chance that the HDP might be able to bring some members to Parliament in western Turkey.

The HDP represents a gravitational moment for Kurdish politics.However, if the HDP surpasses the 10 percent threshold and makes it to Parliament as a political party there would be implications beyond the new Parliamentand#39s arithmetic and the question of whether the AK Party would then be able to command a large enough majority to change the Constitution.

I am not discounting the significance of that. Given President Recep Tayyip ErdoIanand#39s majoritarian authoritarianism and intent to maintain a tight grip on the country to save himself and his family, there is ample reason to be concerned.

That said, there is another dimension to the HDPand#39s potential success that makes this election even more significant. We hear about the HDPand#39s intent to rid itself of the image that it is solely based on the Kurdish ethnic platform and that it wants to become a party for all Turks.

While this is commendable in intent, it remains to be seen how that would materialize in reality.The true significance of a potential HDP entry to Parliament is the possibility that this would make the HDP a true stakeholder of the Turkish body politic.

I believe that is the real value of the HDPand#39s potential role in Parliament. An HDP that obtains more than 10 percent and is in Parliament would be working andldquowithin the systemandrdquo I also think it would further contribute to the full integration of our Kurdish citizens and help solve some of their problems within the democratic systemThe June 7 general election will be a defining moment in the quest to facilitate a post-ErdoIan Turkey.

It will be interesting to observe not only the ongoing commotion inside the AK Party, but also the momentum the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the HDP seem to have captured. The HDP has little room for error in this campaign.

Its first task will be to convince voters by declaring a candidates list that includes a credible number of Turks. Building their campaign strategy on HDP Co-chairman Selahattin DemirtaI is probably the right way to go.

Yet, the HDP has an enormous task ahead to convince skeptical voters that it does not have some sort of secret deal with ErdoIan to make him a strong president in exchange for Kurdish autonomy after the election. Also, violence in Turkish cities before the election could cause many voters to shy away from the HDP.

DemirtaI and the HDP need to demonstrate to the Turkish electorate that they are on the same side with millions of Turks who want to see an end to the disastrous four years of ErdoIanand#39s majoritarian Islamism.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman