DTP congress seeks to establish ‘umbrella party’

The Democratic Society Party (DTP) held its general congress yesterday in Ankara, with only Ahmet Türk running for the party chairmanship.

The DTP's second general congress was held under the shadow of a closure case brought against it on charges of becoming a "focal point" of separatist politics. At the gathering the party discussed the establishment of an "umbrella party" under which the representatives of pro-Kurdish politics and the socialist left can come together.

The congress was held at the Ankara Atatürk Sport Center. The congress was very colorful, with many participants from different parts of Turkey wearing local Kurdish clothes meeting and picnicking with their children. During the congress the slogans praising Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), were chanted. Instead of starting the event with the Turkish national anthem, they began with a song praising the Dağlıca ambush, in which 12 Turkish soldiers were killed by the PKK and eight were abducted in October of last year.
There was only one candidate running for the chairmanship of the party, Türk. There were also no options in the voting for the party council and the executive board. Before the congress, there had been discussions between the group's two divisions, the "hawks" and the "doves," regarding the leadership of the party. Türk is considered a representative of the doves, and the acting chairwoman of the party, Emine Ayna, is known as a hawk. But the two sides reached an agreement before the congress. One of the banners in the congress hall read "Hawks in peace, doves in war."
DTP deputy Selahattin Demirtaş, who presided over the congress, said in his speech that the congress would be the best answer to those who were claiming that the DTP will be divided.
Ayna also spoke at the event, claiming that the government is not fighting against Turkey's gangs and the deep state wholeheartedly, but only to the extent that these gangs are dangerous to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). "Ergenekon is gaining its power from the stalemate over the Kurdish problem, but the AK Party government is not disturbed by Ergenekon's actions against Kurds. Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan has only one hesitation, he thinks that Ergenekon is the only obstacle for him to seize state power in its entirety."
Ayna said the Kurds want peace but that if the road of democracy is closed, people will seek other solutions.
"Kurds are not just saying 'peace,' but 'honorable peace.' The others, when they are talking about peace, they mean giving up basic rights. When Kurds are talking about peace, they mean equal rights," Ayna said, adding that after the congress the main target will be the establishment of an "umbrella party" under which everyone who defends freedom can meet in the name of democratization.
In his speech to the congress Türk also discussed the Ergenekon case, explaining that the investigation is a historical opportunity for Turkey to confront its past. "The enlargement of the Ergenekon investigation will improve the standards of our democracy. Not only the Ergenekon on the western side of the Euphrates River, but also the one on the eastern side should be investigated, and a real 'clean hands' operation should be started."
Türk added that for the solution of the Kurdish problem first there must be the political will to silence the guns. "It will be an important step to make the legal regulations that will open the way returning to society and political life. Then cultural, social and political steps have to be taken," Türk said.
He also stressed the importance of the "umbrella party" and said that the country needs a new sprit and a new political movement. "For a democratic republic, all the excluded, rejected and exploited segments should come together and become a major political power," Türk said.

Today's Zaman