News You Really Need To See: “Turkey’s Leftists, Kurds Celebrate Syriza Victory”

“Turkey’s Leftists, Kurds Celebrate Syriza Victory”

Al-Monitor, January 27, 2015

In Greece, being anti-Turkey had been a lowest common denominator for the parties on the right mainly, but also for those on the left and Turkey’s political spectrum had reciprocated in being anti-Greece when it came to issues of a nationalistic agenda.  The exceptions were confined to peace activists on both sides of the Aegean and to internationalists, mainly on the far left.  Syriza, the new radical left of Greece that won a stunning electoral victory Jan. 25, was the most outspoken of those in Turkey’s neighbor. Syriza was amazingly vocal in Turkey’s Taksim-Gezi upheavals in the summer of 2013.  Its banner in English during Gezi that read ‘The Sea Separates Us but the Dignity Unites’ was unforgettable for Turkey’s young activists. … Syriza is very sensitive to the Kurds’ plight in and around Turkey.  A Syriza delegation visited the Turkish-Kurdish frontier settlements near Kobani in November, while the Kurds were engaged in their epic resistance against the Islamic State (IS). … While people were celebrating Syriza’s victory in Athens, the Kurds in Istanbul, Diyarbakir and Suruc, the border town right across from Kobani, were dancing in the streets, also saluting Syriza. … The most inspired have been Turkey’s marginalized leftists, who feel it’s time for regeneration if not a renaissance.  But more than anything else, it has rekindled the hopes of the HDP [pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party] to attain the 10% national threshold [for representation in the Turkish parliament].  The HDP, under [Selahattin] Demirtas, is becoming the hope of Turkish democrats wary of [Turkish president Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s increasing authoritarian tendencies.”

Quickie Analysis:  This article provides an interesting look at (1) part of the complicated Turkish political scene and (2) the unexpected, cross-border alliances of small parties on the left and right edges of European politics.

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