People's Democracy Party

Political party in Turkey
People’s Democracy Party
Turkish: Halkın Demokrasi Partisi, HADEP
LeaderMurat Bozlak
ChairpersonMurat Bozlak (1994–1999)
Ahmet Turan Demir (1999–2000)
Murat Bozlak (2000–2003)
FoundedMay 1994 (1994-05)
BannedMarch 13, 2003 (2003-03-13)
Preceded byDemocracy Party
Succeeded byDemocratic People's Party
Social democracy
Green politics
Kurdish rights
Political positionCentre-left

People's Democracy Party (Turkish: Halkın Demokrasi Partisi, HADEP) was a Kurdish[1][2] political party in Turkey. It was founded on 11 May 1994[3] by lawyer Murat Bozlak. It had distanced itself clearly from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).[4]


Bozlak's first chairmanship

The party's first chairman was Murat Bozlak, who first chaired the party between 1994 and 1999. During the electoral campaign towards the parliamentary elections of 1995, the political environment was hostile to the HADEP and the Welfare Party (RP) thought that HADEP was only permitted to compete to limit the influence of the RP.[5] Following the elections, suspicions of fraud emerged, as a HADEP candidate allegedly didn't even receive one vote in his village of origin, also not from his wife.[6] At the party congress in June 1996 masked men dropped the Turkish flag and raised the PKK flag. As a result of this, all HADEP members present at the congress were arrested.[7] The party came severely under pressure after Italy refused to extradite Abdullah Öcalan to Turkey. Dozens of party members were detained and accused for having supported a country wide hunger strike in protest of the Turkish approach towards the Kurdish Turkish conflict.

Demir's chairmanship

Bozlak was succeeded by Ahmet Turan Demir, who served as party chairman from September 1998 to November 1999.[8] In January 1999, 41 HADEP members who were detained in November 1998 were released, but four others remained in custody.[9] The same month, a State Prosecutor demanded the party's closure before the Constitutional Court, alleging that parties had organizational ties with the PKK.[10] After Abdullah Öcalan was captured in Kenya and imprisoned on Imrali in February 1999, again hundreds of its party members were detained.[11]

Following reports from the Turkish press that Öcalan admitted that the PKK named the parties candidates the State Prosecutor demanded the parties be excluded from competing in the General Elections of 1999.[10] The party was neither excluded nor banned, but in the electoral campaign towards the general and local elections of April 1999, it faced opposition from the Turkish authorities. The rally planned in Diyarbakır the week before the elections was prohibited, and thousands of people were detained.[12] At the time, the party hoped to become an important factor in Turkish politics.[12] Despite suppression,[12] the party was successful in the local elections of April 1999 and won 37 mayorships, including the one of Diyarbakır.[13] In August 1999, the President Süleyman Demirel welcomed seven mayors of the HADEP in Ankara in an apparent sign to alleviate the legal situation of the Kurdish politicians.[14] In 1999 and as the first party in the history of Turkish politics, the HADEP introduced a women quota of 25%.[15]

Bozlak's second chairmanship and dissolution

Bozlak served for a second term, until the party's dissolution in 2003.[16] HADEP politicians and supporters were often detained, as happened before a manifestation organized by the HADEP on the 1 September 2001 in memory of World Peace Day.[17] As the HADEP was repeatedly accused of supporting terror, in 2002 it received the support from the Socialist International (SI) who demanded from Turkey that it provides a framework for a fair environment for a pluralistic democracy.[18] The party was banned by the Constitutional Court on 13 March 2003 on the grounds that it allegedly supported the PKK.[19] The courts leading judge Mustafa Bumin stated that the party was a threat concerning the indivisibility of the Turkish Republic[20] As a result, 46 politicians from the HADEP were banned from politics for 5 years.[21] Greece, the holder of the EU presidency at the time, issued a statement criticizing the events.[21]

The party was succeeded by the Democratic People's Party (DEHAP),[22] which was joined by 35 mayors of the former HADEP on the 26 March 2003.[23][24] In 2010, the party's dissolution was unanimously found to be contrary to Article 11 (freedom of association) of the European Convention on Human Rights by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).[25]


  1. ^ Christoph Marcinkowski, The Islamic World and the West: Managing Religious and Cultural Identities in the Age of Globalisation, LIT Verlag Münster, 2009, ISBN 978-3-643-80001-5, p. 168.
  2. ^ Lenore G. Martin, New Frontiers in Middle East Security, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001, ISBN 978-0-312-23992-3, p. 140.
  3. ^ Gunes, Cengiz (2013-01-11). The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance. Routledge. p. 164. ISBN 9781136587986.
  4. ^ Rubin, Barry; Heper, Metin (2013-12-16). Political Parties in Turkey. Routledge. p. 125. ISBN 9781135289386.
  5. ^ Barkey, Henri J. (2000-01-01). Turkey's Kurdish Question. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-585-17773-1.
  6. ^ McDowall, David (2002). "Asylum seekers from Turkey II" (PDF). Refworld. Asylum Aid. p. 121.
  7. ^ Güney, Aylin (2002). "The People's Democracy Party". Turkish Studies. 3: 125. doi:10.1080/714005704. hdl:11693/48656. S2CID 143548942 – via Bilkent University.
  8. ^ Fırat, Nuri; Yıldız, Yılmaz (3 May 2017). "Almost All Party Chairs Served Jail Term". Bianet - Bagimsiz Iletisim Agi. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  9. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Turkey: Update to TUR22841.E of 19 January 1996 regarding the People's Democracy Party (HADEP); legal status of the party, harassment of known members and supporters (1998-1999)". Refworld. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  10. ^ a b Güney (2002), p. 126 (and note 19 on p.136)
  11. ^ "EXTRA 24/99 Fear of torture or ill-treatment / Fear of disappearance" (PDF). Amnesty International. February 1999. Retrieved 21 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ a b c Guardian Staff (1999-04-14). "Thousands held as Turkey bans Kurd election rally". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  13. ^ Arat, Yeşim; Pamuk, Şevket (2019-09-05). Turkey between Democracy and Authoritarianism. Cambridge University Press. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-521-19116-6.
  14. ^ Gunter, Michael (2000). "The continuing Kurdish problem in Turkey after O¨calan's capture" (PDF). Third World Quarterly. 21 (5): 859. doi:10.1080/713701074. S2CID 154977403.
  15. ^ Gurses, Mehmet (2018), "War and Women", Anatomy of a Civil War, Sociopolitical Impacts of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey, University of Michigan Press, p. 51, ISBN 978-0-472-13100-6, retrieved 2022-04-01
  16. ^ "Reuters Archive Licensing". Reuters Archive Licensing. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  17. ^ McDowall, David (2002). "Asylum seekers from Turkey II" (PDF). Refworld. Asylum Aid. p. 122.
  18. ^ "Resolution on HADEP". Socialist International. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  19. ^ Moghadam 2007, p. 86.
  20. ^ "Turkey's Constitutional Court Issues Ruling Against Pro-Kurdish HADEP - 2003-03-13 | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  21. ^ a b "Turkey Outlaws Kurds' Main Party". Los Angeles Times. 2003-03-14. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  22. ^ McDowall 2003, p. 463.
  23. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Turkey: The situation and treatment of members, supporters and sympathizers of leftist parties, particularly the People's Democratic Party (HADEP) and Democratic People's Party (DEHAP) (January 2003 - September 2004)". Refworld. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  24. ^ "Country Report Turkey, October 2005" (PDF). p. 127. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  25. ^ Judgment in case 28003/03


  • Güney, Aylin (2002). "The People's Democracy Party". Turkish Studies. 3 (1): 122–137. doi:10.1080/714005704. hdl:11693/48656. S2CID 143548942.
  • Moghadam, Valentine M. (2007). From Patriarchy to Empowerment: Women's Participation, Movements, and Rights in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-3111-8.
  • McDowall, David. (2003) A Modern History of the Kurds (London: I.B. Tauris, 2003), p. 463. ISBN 978-1850434160
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