Umbrella party of leftist-Kurdish alliance holds first convention in Ankara / Slogan: ” “Don’t be silent, shout ‘There are LBGTİ people”

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News – 27-10.2013 – The first extraordinary convention of the People’s Democratic Party (HDK) – designated as an umbrella party encompassing the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and a number of leftist parties – opened today in Ankara, aiming to review the party administration ahead of the local elections campaign.

Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Sebahat Tuncel, who resigned from the BDP earlier this week in order to join the HDP, are expected to be elected as the new co-chairpersons of the party.

The main theme of the convention is, “This is just the beginning,” and a few thousand party supporters at the congress hall chanted the slogan: “This is just the beginning, we will continue our struggle.” A banner with a welcome message in 16 languages was hung at the entrance of congress hall, where people danced the “halay” – a dance widely performed arm in arm in the Middle East during happy gatherings such as wedding ceremonies.

The banners at the HDP congress are dominated by messages of “freedom” and “equality,” as well as the demands of the BDP. Among the banners were ones reading: “Territorial governance, democratic autonomy,” “Education in mother tongue is a fundamental human right,” “Freedom for all believes, equal citizenship for Alevis,” “Freedom to political prisoners,” “No to nature and labor exploitation, the solution is ecological life,” “No to an imperialist intervention in Syria,” “Greetings to the Rojava revolution,” “Don’t be silent, shout ‘There are LBGTİ people.’”Songs in both Turkish and Kurdish are being played at the congress, and BDP co-chairs and lawmakers are present.

In many ways, the HDP convention is no different than any BDP congress, with some supporters carrying posters of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as flags of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK. Supporters have been chanting pro-PKK slogans such as “The PKK is the people, the people are here” and “Long live leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan].”

A number of supporters also showed solidarity with the spirit of the Gezi Park demonstrations, chanting the motto of June’s demonstrations: “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance.”