An election alliance that includes Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has drawn strong criticism for its recent decision to accept the radical Islamist Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR), the political arm of Kurdish Hizbullah, into the bloc.
AKP Deputy Chairman Ali İhsan Yavuz announced over the weekend that the AKP had decided to support HÜDA-PAR candidates in some regions but did not reveal how many deputies they had reached an agreement with.
The development has been met with criticism from various segments of society due to HÜDA-PAR’s links to Hizbullah, the armed group responsible for the murder of Muslim feminist author Konca Kuriş in 1999 and the assassination of Diyarbakır’s police chief Gaffar Okkan in 2001, among others.
“It makes our blood boil,” journalist İsmail Saymaz on Tuesday quoted Mehmet Genç, brother of Kuriş, as saying regarding HÜDA-PAR’s recent acceptance into Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s alliance.
“As a family, we know … that HÜDA-PAR is a massacre organization. … Watching the formation of this alliance with them makes our blood boil. We don’t find it right,” Genç told Saymaz.
During a program on FOX TV on Monday, Cemal Enginyurt, deputy chairman of the opposition Democrat Party, said Erdoğan lets HÜDA-PAR into his “Public Alliance” because he shares the same political stance with the radical Islamist party.
“Those who say Hizbollah is not a terrorist organization are also serving terrorism. … Now, does Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calling HÜDA-PAR local and national make it local and national?” Enginyurt added.
Enginyurt’s comments came after Erdoğan during a live broadcast last week described HÜDA-PAR as a “completely local and national structure” and said he found the support of the party valuable.
Speaking to Euronews Turkish service on Monday, political observer, pollster and owner of the MetroPoll Özer Sencar said the ruling AKP’s joining forces with HÜDA-PAR under the umbrella of the Public Alliance would not benefit the former.
Sencar said he didn’t understand why Erdoğan would make such a “mistake” since HÜDA-PAR is the same as Hizbullah and that forming an alliance with the party would cost the Public Alliance more votes than it brings.
HÜDA-PAR was founded in 2012 on the ashes of the outlawed Kurdish Hizbullah, an extremist Sunni group that emerged in southeastern Turkey in 1985. The party calls for the constitutional recognition of the Kurds and the Kurdish language and the decentralization of state power and the strengthening of local administration. The party, which is opposed to LGBT rights, also wants adultery criminalized and religious marriages recognized.
HÜDA-PAR endorsed the president in an April 16, 2017 referendum that gave Erdoğan broad powers. All convicted and charged Kurdish Hizbullah members have been released from prison in recent years thanks to Erdoğan’s reshuffling of the judiciary through which Islamists were put in key positions.