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Exclusive: People's Democratic Party co-chair calls on world to take notice of Turkey's purge against the party

THE People’s Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair for Ankara Zeyno Bayramoglu called for the world to take notice of the purges against the party today, hours after her release from custody.

She was one of scores detained by Turkish police on Monday, minutes after the HDP women’s platform began a peaceful protest in Ankara’s Kugulu Park against the government’s attack on the party’s co-chair system.

Ms Bayramoglu told the Star that the demonstration was important for defending a system that is “about women making their claim about how life should be, the struggle of women within male-dominated society and the understanding of power.”

The HDP operates a co-chair system to ensure sexual equality and representation at all levels of the party. 

But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party has branded the system an act of terrorism.

It states that male elected co-chairs are acceptable, but claims that the women co-chairs are appointed by the banned Kurdistan Workers Party.

The HDP says the system is a “red line” for the party.

Ms Bayramoglu warned of “a usurpation of our right to elect and be elected” and said members were also demonstrating against the removal of HDP elected mayors in Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van last month.

She described the co-chair system as “the unique and autonomous organisation of women in all aspects of life.”

She said: “The co-chair system is the transition from central administration to a horizontal one.

“It’s about class … it defends the voice of the people. It does not marginalise but it socialises. It delegates power to local level. Most importantly it is a rejection of men possessing women.”

Turkey under Mr Erdogan has been described as “anti-woman.” He claims it is impossible to discriminate on grounds of sex but believes women should only exist in the domestic sphere.

Turkey remains one of the world’s most unequal societies, ranking 130th of 144 nations in the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Gender Gap Index.

Ms Bayramoglu explained: “The male-dominated system, the state, does not want women to socialise or to exist and participate in the political arena freely and equally. It is dominant, tyrannical and repressive in Turkey as well as all over the world. 

“To participate in this struggle as a woman is as hard as it is honourable. But in the face of a government using all kinds of violence, it is the only way we can exist and breathe.”

She warned that the HDP faces attack because “it stands as a beacon of hope for the people of Turkey.”

She said: “Its programme and its guidelines are revolutionary. It defends pluralism, not the privileged. It defends peace, not war.”

With Labour Party conference looming in Britain she said that it is crucial that awareness is raised about the purges against the party.

A major solidarity campaign will be launched next week.

For more details contact HDPCampaign@gmail.com.

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