02 May 2018 12:10

Gürkan: Election manoeuvres that leave the people without a choice are ill-judged

EMEP Chairwoman Selma Gürkan said; 'The opportunity still exists and there is still time for a unity of democratic forces'.

Photograph: Evrensel


Calling on forces of labour, democracy and peace to have a joint candidate,  Selma Gürkan, chairwoman of EMEP, said: “if we move quickly, we still have an opportunity and the time for a unity of democratic forces.” She also said that “election manoeuvres that leave the people without a choice are ill-judged.”

Gürkan, speaking to Hacı Bişkin of Gazete Duvar, explained the roadmap for EMEP in the snap elections.


“Since the announcement of the snap elections, the agenda has been dominated by the ‘Presidential alliance’ on the one side and the discussions based on CHP [Republican Peoples’ Party] , SP [Felicity Party], and İyi Party [Good Party] to meet the demands of those that feel uneasy by the direction towards a one-man rule and some sections of the financial circles that want an alternative on the other.” Gürkan also claimed that negotiations for an alliance between democratic forces had been weak.

Gürkan stated that this was caused in part by the ‘left-socialist choice’ approach by the ‘United June Movement’ and the limitations caused by HDP attempts to continue discussions on its own terms; she went on “it would be wrong to say today that this process is over with. If we take into account the fact that candidate registration ends on 5 May and the independent candidates will be signing up between 4 and 9 May, if we act quickly, we could still be able to realise a united democratic alliance. We take part in negotiations with this outlook.”


Commenting on a statement by Alper Taş, a member of the ÖDP Executive (Freedom and Solidarity Party), that “the opportunity for a unified candidate is lost” Gürkan said:

“Why can we not bring forth a democratic choice, a peoples’ choice in place of the politics of the leadership? It is important to see the restrictions that parties introduce as a major factor. Should socialists not have come together to create a political choice that will be the expression of the will of the people, rather than trying to create a socialist construct? We recommend the formation of an alliance around democratic demands, without any superficial restrictions; open to all political and public sections that want to take part in it. Such a platform would have been the path to take, with all those that want to be a part of it.

Alper Taş shared some information regarding our negotiations and expressed his criticism but never clarified how a wide, democratic alliance could be achieved without CHP and HDP. Our recommendation was not for CHP, HDP, ÖDP, EMEP, etc. to align and create an alliance between political parties. On the contrary, we put forward an alliance that would have these parties in its centre but also addresses the anger, discontent and demands for new formations brought about by the economic social and political problems; one that unites wide social and political sections; a united struggle that will stoke excitement and hope around the country and an alliance that will rise from this struggle. We also do not believe that it is right to divide the people along the lines of political categories which will feed the polarisation created by the rulership. Furthermore, at a time when the opportunity to run a campaign to expose the system and the political leadership is increased and peoples’ political sensors are more receptive, political manoeuvres that leave people without a choice are ill-judged. We all agree that this is not a normal election process. It is also agreed that political discourse is moving fast towards fascism.”


Gürkan stated that “under such aggravated political conditions we all have historical responsibilities”, “ forces of democracy and peace have the experience to quickly form a platform around common demands and a joint candidate to defend these”. She added “If we must give concrete proposals; the promise of a democratic constitution that does away with the symbolic and undemocratic regulation on presidency, elections and political presentation, as well as rejecting executive presidency; a political platform that is matured by our experiences of united action and enriched by democratic rights and freedoms that we agree upon; with a joint candidate that would also consider the option of Selahattin Demirtaş, put forward by HDP; why would this be hard or even impossible? We need only the determination; as long as we do not waste time on arguments on ideals and act quickly enough, we still have the opportunity for and the time to create a democratic unity of forces.”


Gürkan said they will determine new tactics in the event of the second round of voting:

“Our Executive’s clear call for a democratic alliance in the elections and a joint candidate made very clear our main demands and the names of the addressees. It is not possible to understand the statements by those addresses that makes things difficult when our call is clear. Our candidate in the second round will be decided on the policies we mentioned above. We’ll look at the political platform the candidates put forward, we’ll decide on our tactics and make our call accordingly.” (EVRENSEL DAILY)