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Pro-independence and pro-federation Kurdish parties.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- The discussion raised by the declaration of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) that it would take part in the 2015 general election as a party (not as independent candidates) leads to questions for the other Kurdish parties. The HDP will not be able to justify its decision in the eyes of the voters given that the election threshold is a huge barrier. The Kurdish support base of the HDP may, believing that it will not be able to pass the election threshold, punish it and if other Kurdish parties nominate independent candidates that the HDP support base endorse, the voters may pick these other parties.

From this perspective, the Kurdish voters do not just have the HDP and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) as their only options; in the general election, they actually have other choices. Kurdish parties other than HDP may make an alliance and if this alliance is considered reliable by Kurdish voters, we may see some different results.

In this scenario, both the AK Party and the HDP would have to nominate high-profile figures in the election race. In such a case, the quality of the candidates would be automatically raised. People have little information on the Kurdish parties other than the HDP, so let me briefly introduce these parties as well:

The Rights and Freedoms Party (Hak-Par): Fehmi Demir chairs this party, which was formerly led by Kemal Burkay after his return to Turkey. They defend federalism, oppose armed struggle and support the democratic process.

The Participatory Democracy Party (KADEP): It was founded by E[currency]erafettin Elci and defends a liberal and democratic line of politics. After the downfall of Elci, LE-tfE- Baksi was elected as the chairman of the party. KADEP defends a federalist solution and is currently not very active. The party is relatively passive compared to Hak-Par and other pro-Kurdish parties.

The Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK): This party faced some legal problems because it contains a reference to "Kurdistan" in its title, but the party was allowed to take place in the election race. It seems that this party defends a political attitude which considers both federation and independence an option. Mustafa Euzcelik serves as the founding head of the party.

Kurdistan Democratic Party of Turkey (TKDP): The party, chaired by Mehmet Emin KardaE-, defends independence, but unlike other Kurdish parties, it is supportive of democratic reforms. I should also note that there is no link between the TKDP and Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Another party is the Free Cause Party (HE-da-Par), which emphasizes both Islam and the Kurdish identity. This party defends the rights of the Kurds to have a separate state but also supports the democratic process and pays attention to the reforms. Zekeriya Yapycyoy-lu serves as head of this party, which has attracted attention because of assaults on its members and party buildings. What makes HE-da-Par distinct is its eagerness to organize and perform political activities only in the Eastern parts of Turkey. The party, whose members faced serious acts of aggression in protests in early October, is trying to influence religious and Islamist Kurds.

The 2015 elections could be turning point for Kurdish political life, particularly for the other Kurdish parties which are ambitious to take their place on the political stage despite the strength of the HDP and the AK Party.

ORHAN MyROy[currency]LU (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Dec 27, 2014
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