BDP hit by two-term crisis earlier than expected / DEMIRTAS

9 October 2013 /ALİ ASLAN KILIÇ, ANKARA – Zaman – The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), whose party bylaws limits the election of deputies to Parliament to two consecutive terms, is currently facing a crisis over BDP co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş’s quest to run for the mayor of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality.

Media reports have said over the past days that Demirtaş is going to resign from his current post in the party. However, the BDP co-chairman refuted the claims at a news conference in Diyarbakır on Tuesday. He also announced that his party’s mayoral candidate for Diyarbakır will be a woman. According to the claims, Demirtaş, who will not run for Parliament in the next elections due to the BDP’s two-term rule, had wanted to run for the mayor of Diyarbakır but the party administration’s decision to nominate a female candidate prevented Demirtaş from running.

Another reason for the current crisis in the BDP is Demirtaş’s opposition to the party’s alliance with the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) in the local elections on the grounds that this will bring failure to the party.

While these rumors were circulating in the media, the BDP announced on Tuesday that it had cancelled the party’s first parliamentary group meeting in the new legislative year. Instead, Demirtaş held a news conference in Diyarbakır where he refuted claims about his party in the media. With regards to the claims about the alliance with the HDP, he said: “We will enter elections under the flag of the HDP in the west and under the flag of the BDP in Kurdistan [referring to Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast]. There is no differentiation between the HDP and the BDP for our party.”

When asked about his party’s mayoral candidate for Diyarbakır, Demirtaş said he hopes that for the first time in Turkey, the mayor of a metropolitan municipality will be a woman.

He also refuted claims that he wants an extraordinary party congress before the local elections, slated for March 2014.“There is no debate about co-chairmanship in our party. No resignation is in question. Our positions are temporary duties given to us by the people. Just as people entrusted them to us, they can take them back. … Until the elections, we don’t have an extraordinary party congress on our agenda. We can make debates following the elections,” he said. A BDP figure who wanted to remain anonymous said the news about a crisis in the BDP is exaggerated, adding that personal disagreements in the party, which has close ties with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), will not lead to a crisis.