Aslı Aydıntaşbaş in Milliyet writes that it’s not certain that pro-Kurdish HDP will cross the ten percent threshold to parliament, but she notes that polls indicate an upward trend. She quotes the head of the Metropoll pollster company who affirms that HDP no longer has a threshold problem. However, she cautions that the party’s crossing the threshold will depend on two crucial conditions being met. “The first is that they take preemptive action against provocations, and the second is that that they nominate the right kind of candidates in the west of Turkey.” “Kurds account for 7-7.5 percent of HDP votes; but in order to reach 10 percent the rest will have to come from Turks. I’m concerned that we are going to see provocations to prevent the HDP from enlarging its support. For instance there may be attacks staged against the military, the police or against symbols like the flag. These can be staged and even made to be look like HDP actions.” So what is the HDP going to do against this? How can a political party thwart a scheme about which it is unaware? “The only thing that the HDP can do is that Selahattin Demirtaş (co-chairman of HDP) and if need be Kandil (the headquarters of PKK in northern Iraq) right now preemptively let the public know that if such an attack occurs, we have got nothing to do with it. There is no use in saying that after an attack has already occurred. They need to assure the Turkish public that “nothing bad is going to emanate from us, we wish for Turkey’s peace.”
Oya Baydar on the t24 news site writes that it is apparent that the main target of the AKP in the campaign for the June general election is going to be neither the CHP nor MHP, but the HDP that is going to be attacked, especially its co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş. They [the AKP] are not going to waste any opportunity to discredit Demirtaş. As the disappointment over the CHP has come to merge with the concern over AKP and Erdoğan’s dictatorship, many people have increasingly started to say that they are going to cast their votes for HDP. What is important is that these votes are cast not reluctantly and because of a lack of any better option, but because the HDP has come to stand for peace and democratization. The HDP must ensure this by its discourse, actions and political stance. The sine qua non for electoral success is that the HDP makes sure to forcefully deny and dispel the rumors that certain circles are spreading that the HDP has come to an agreement with Erdoğan to introduce a presidential system, that the party is going to be supporting the AKP, that a vote for the HDP is in fact a vote for the AKP; its words, actions, struggle and its election program will have to demonstrate that these are unfounded rumors.
Ali Bayramoğlu in Yeni Şafak writes that there is still a lack of confidence in the air despite the announcement of Abdullah Öcalan that PKK is going to permanently cease its armed struggle in Turkey. There is still uncertainty because it is not yet clear how the ten points (for democratization and autonomy for the Kurds that Öcalan presented as preconditions for PKK’s abandonment of the armed struggle) are going to be filled with content. However, the “big picture” that emerges from the developments at Dolmabahçe palace (where Öcalan’s announcement was read out in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan and then Interior Minister Efkan Ala) is not this. Dolmabahçe confirmed a) that there are two sides in the problem, b) that the solution process is going to be conducted through negotiations within this framework, and c) that the execution of the solution process will depend on parallel action being taken on disarmament and steps regarding the Kurdish issue (from the definition of citizenship to self-rule.) However, what is essential is that a threshold has been crossed, that another taboo has been broken… And in this regard, headway is being made with the silent consent of the society. I think that the June elections are going to confirm this. The point which we have reached is going to benefit both the AK Party and the HDP significantly, provided that HDP does not act in a way that scares the voters in the west, and provided that some corrections can be made regarding some parts of the internal security legislation [that the government has proposed to parliament.]
Ahmet İnsel in Radikal writes that Öcalan’s decision to abandon the armed struggle symbolizes the new point at which Turkey’s Kurdish question now stands. From this time on, it is the government – if it continues to let the question linger on unresolved – that will bear the responsibility for any armed clashes caused by the Kurdish issue. There is one urgent step that the government needs to take. It has to withdraw the new internal security legislation that is being debated in parliament. If on the other hand the government keeps insisting on pushing through what in fact amounts to a de facto and permanent state of martial law – without the military – under the name of “internal security,” it will make it abundantly clear that the AKP government is trying to impose a straightjacket on Turkey using the Kurdish problem as a pretext. The February 28 meeting (at the Dolmabahçe palace) and the subsequent declarations from the leadership of the Kurdish political movement show that the “Kurdish Freedom Movement” has the potential to become the Freedom Movement for Turkey. However, some of the cadres of the Kurdish political movement nonetheless need to learn not to react to warnings and criticism with aggressiveness similar to that of the president. It is noteworthy that Selahattin Demirtaş assures that the HDP group in parliament after the election is going to be the strongest guarantee of freedoms in Turkey and that he makes clear, in no uncertain terms, and in the name of his party, that he opposes a presidential system. We hope that these important steps, which are necessary steps to establish HDP as the Freedom movement of Turkey, are not going to be sabotaged from within the very same movement.