Esquerra Republicana participates in the fifth congress of the Peoples’ Democratic Party in Ankara

On Sunday July 3, senator Laura Castel, the only pro-independence member of the Assembly of the Council of Europe, and Esquerra Republicana’s deputy spokesperson at the Parliament of Catalonia, Meritxell Serret, both represented the party at the fifth congress of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) held in Ankara. The congress was held a year before the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections, at a time when the HDP is facing court proceedings on the unjust criminalization of the party.

The Peoples Democratic Party is a Kurdish party with members imprisoned and persecuted by the Erdogan regime and its ultranationalist allies. Since 2016, more than 5,000 members of the HDP have been arrested. It is also under threat of being dissolved by the Turkish government. Despite all these attacks, the HDP remains an indispensable political player in Turkish and Kurdish politics, as demonstrated by the results of the 2019 local elections.

Esquerra Republicana and the Peoples Democratic Party are united in the defence of freedom, democratic values and solidarity in the struggle against repression. Esquerra maintains that justice, peace and freedom must be the firm response to the Erdogan government’s suppression of the democratic opposition in Turkey.

“If Spain is to be considered a democratic country, it must defend the international laws that Turkey is breaching,” said Laura Castel speaking on behalf of Esquerra Republicana at the congress. For her part, MP Meritxell Serret wished to express all of Esquerra Republicana’s solidarity with our fellow HDP members. “HDP and the Kurdish people are an example of resilience in the face of harsh repression, and at the same time maintaining their democratic, peaceful convictions intact, with a firm will to build large majorities so as to gain their freedom.”

The friendship between the two parties comes after a meeting at the Spanish Congress in November 2021 with a delegation of the Peoples Democratic Party which included party spokesperson Ebru Gunay, HDP MP for Diyarbakir and International head Hisyar Ozsoy, and Dersim Dag, MP for Diyarbakir and head of the Youth Committee. The meeting focused on the Spanish state’s arms trade with Turkey and the war crimes committed in Kurdistan under Erdogan's rule. The delegation thanked Esquerra for its support in the “Kobane Case,” for which 108 HDP members are being prosecuted for their support in the defence against ISIS during the attack on Kobane.