The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is hung up on the issue of religion. You would think that this movement has been fighting for Islam in Turkey since the past three decades. It is as though they were the ones who brought religious freedoms, their leaders were imprisoned for defending Islam, and as though they challenged the religion-purging movements of Kemalism and pioneered the Islamization struggle in Turkey. It is as though they had also brought a variety of strategies to struggling for the Islamic identities of Muslim Kurds. However, none of the aforementioned could be found in the HDP, and other Kurdish parties, including the DTP and militant factions such as the outlawed PKK and the KCK. The leaders of this “Kurdish political movement” had mainly focused on Kurdishness in their struggle, were imprisoned for it, and published and organized under the scope of Kurdishness.
The HDP is the party of such a political movement. They have nothing to do with the Islamists, nor with Islamization or Islamic movements. They did not emerge as a result of Islamic concerns, nor do they have a stance which fights for such concerns. Islam is approached from a few angles when we look at their founding texts, the speeches of their leaders and the books published by them. In this regard, Islam is a trace of feudalism and societal progress must be ensured by removing this trace! Secondly, Islam is dogmatic. Thirdly, Islam is only a factor for Kurds. All of these readings are nurtured by a nationalist, secular and leftist understanding. For this reason, the relationship HDP has established with Islam functions as a means to define secularism, nationalism and leftist-thought. For all these three approaches, religion is outdated, is only important for individuals and would be approached with regards to the Kurds. So Islam is commentated under the scope of Kurdishness and is only reduced to Kurdishness. Under this framework, there are no issues such as the Muslim community of believers (ummah), the Islamic world, the Islamic region, and fraternity. There is no issue of Jerusalem nor Palestine. For instance, did you ever hear about the HDP providing assistance for any Islamic societies? Or do you remember them saying a word about the issues faced by the Islamic world? The Kurdish Political Movement does not have such concern.
In this regard, the HDP establishes a rather narrow and pragmatist relationship with religion. It runs after obtaining the votes of the devout Kurds. It is aware of the value Islam hold for Kurds; and therefore, in order to win their votes, it uses a style of relationship which had previously been used by right-wing and Turkish nationalist parties. While they benefit from devout Kurds, they present one thing to Islam and the religious people. Under this framework, they include some women who wear headscarves or others who had an Islamist past and establish a pragmatic relationship with religion. In conclusion, there is no Islam in the essence of the Kurdish political movement.
Beyond being a political party, the HDP is a political movement which consists of partners such as the outlawed PKK, KCK and the DTK. Kurdishness is at the center of this political movement. They put forward Kurdishness as the main issue of their movement and conduct their struggle based on this. This movement does not only address resolving the issues of the Kurdish people, but wants to secularize the Kurds through leftist thought and make them nationalists. We see this in many of their activities. For instance, they detach women from Islamic understanding and tradition, and move them to a completely leftists and secularist context by making fun of honor. Under this framework, the exhibition of women with burqa as creatures in chains (this had previously been used many times by the Kemalists before), the posters with slogans in Van again saying “we will not be anyone's honor” and the use of “we are all available” – in reference to the Turkish Linguistic Society's definition of the word “available” had degenerating connotations for women- for their party propaganda…applications that we meet. The Kurds had traditionally been one of the most sensitive Muslim societies about their honor. However, the HDP now makes fun of this culture, humiliates it and wants to reverse it through the image of fornicating women. Like all of this was not enough, they nominate a homosexual candidate. Oh, HDP, how do you claim to represent Muslim Kurds with all of these?