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Can the Kurdish Left Contribute to Turkey’s Democratization?

The current peace process regarding Turkey’s Kurdish question could pave the way for the normalization of politics and democratization in Turkey if the existing opportunities are not missed. The major actors that represent the Kurdish left in Turkey, the PKK and the HDP (formerly BDP), are all equally significant parts of the peace process. The HDP in particular has the potential to turn into a constructive actor for Turkey’s democratization in the near future. This article argues that the Kurdish left of the democratic, parliamentary stage, lately the HDP, could contribute to Turkey’s democratization if it can fulfill the libertarian left policy space in Turkish politics, which has long been abandoned by all existing political parties.

Can the Kurdish Left Contribute to Turkey s Democratization
Selahattin Demirtaş, chairman of HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) and candidate in Turkey’s presidential elections, speaks in Mersin meeting. AA / Anıl Bağrık
 

Introduction

The ongoing peace process between the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AK Party) government and the Kurdish left, represented by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK) and the Democratic Party of the Peoples (Halkların Demokratik Partisi, HDP), the neo-successor of the former Peace and Democracy Party (Barış ve Demokrasi Partisi, BDP), is an extraordinary achievement. After over thirty years of armed clashes between Turkey’s civilian governments/military forces and the PKK’s paramilitary groups, both sides have agreed to end the fighting and permanently establish peace.

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