Life

Turkish elections: 80 MPs from the pro-gay HDP will be in the Parliament

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The biggest puzzle of Turkey’s general elections is resolved as the Peoples’ Democratic Party passed the 10 percent election threshold, ending 13 years of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) majority.
 
The HDP celebration in Istanbul a day after the June 7 elections
 
The ruling AKP considers coalition options
 
Turkish politics entered a new era following the Sunday’s parliamentary elections that saw President Erdogan’s ruling AKP lose its single-party majority since 2002. Although the AKP took almost 41 percent of the vote, that is not enough to form a government by itself. Therefore, the party will consider coalition options with opposition parties. 
 
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which criticises the government’s economy politics, garnered almost 25% of the vote, whereas the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) -the two party with opposing views on the ongoing peace-making process- got about 16% and about 13%, respectively.
 
Peace for all people in Turkey
 
For the HDP, the discussion over peace means more than a ceasefire between the Turkish Army and the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) as the party became the main target of numerous violent acts.
 
The HDP headquarters, party buildings, vehicles, members and volunteers faced more than 120 attacks until the elections, the most violent of which being the bomb attack on Friday in the HDP meeting in Diyarbakir, leaving 4 dead and more than 180 injured.
 
But still, the party takes firm steps toward a Turkey where different groups can live peacefully together, and prioritises a new constitution that would recognise the diversity of people in the country, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. 
 
“We are rainbow”
 
Although HDP Co-Chairs Demirtas and Yuksekdag did not mention LGBTI people as one of their supporters in their speech after the election results, the party’s election manifesto has a specific section for LGBTI rights under the title “We are rainbow”. 
 
The HDP Central Executive Board Member Cihan Erdal talked to kaosGL.org about the party’s election success:
 
“Now we have 80 MPs in the Parliament who will work as LGBTI activists and advocate for LGBTI rights with no buts.”
 
Out in the Parliament
 
However, LGBTIs in Turkey want to see an out LGBTI member in the Parliament. The HDP’s only out gay candidate, Baris Sulu, could not make it to the parliament as he was at the last rank of the party’s election list in Eskisehir, which is for some a question of sincerity about the HDP’s LGBTI stance. 
 
The only other party in favour of LGBTI rights is the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). The party is acclaimed especially for its LGBTI work on municipal level in Istanbul thanks to out lesbian assembly member Sedef Cakmak and out gay mayoral advisor Boysan Yakar.
 
The CHP and HDP will have more than 210 MPs together in the 550-seat parliament. How they will collaborate on LGBTI citizens’ rights is yet to be seen once the government is formed in the upcoming weeks.  
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