Former Kurdish deputy resigns from pro-Kurdish HDP after comments on ‘Turk leader’

A former parliamentarian for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has resigned from the party after being criticised by party officials for saying ethnic Turks should not seek to become party co-chair in an election for the post at a party congress in February, according to a report by online news portal Ahval on Wednesday.

“No Turkish eye should be fixed on (party co-chair Selahattin) Demirtaş’s place at the HDP congress: my humble suggestion, everyone must know their place…!” Hasip Kaplan tweeted.

The HDP was quick to condemn the statement. “The racist, discriminatory and othering things shared by Hasip Kaplan from his Twitter account have nothing at all to do with the HDP’s views or policies,” the party tweeted. “We denounce and condemn them.”

One ethnic Turk who has been linked to the role, film director and parliamentarian Sırrı Süreyya Önder, said that he was not a candidate.

“Primitive nationalism, or racism, is a sick feeling,” Önder said. “Sometimes, as we see in Hasip’s case, it makes people lose their humanity.”

“This political line has come to where it is today through the honour, bravery, belief in freedom and unrivalled loyalty of the children of the Kurdish, Turkish, Armenian, Assyrian, Circassian and (other) peoples of Turkey,” Önder said.

“For the children of all the peoples of the world, including Turks, who gave their lives … in search of peace and freedom, Hasip’s mindset is so worthless as to be spat upon,” he said.

“Racism? Discipline? … I resign from politics and the party,” Kaplan tweeted.

“Pardon me, I should have done it when there was a Turkish representative chosen for the Kurdish national congress,” he said.

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