Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party has launched its campaign for the upcoming local elections, scheduled for 31 March. In a significant gathering in Diyarbakır (Amed), co-chairs Tülay Hatimoğulları and Tuncer Bakırhan highlighted the party’s dedication to regional issues, its focus on inclusive citizenship, and its determination to use democratic means to oust state-appointed trustees.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party officially commenced its local election campaign on Monday in Diyarbakır (Amed). The event drew a sizeable crowd as the party introduced co-mayoral candidates for cities and regions with Kurdish majorities ahead of polls scheduled for 31 March.

Co-chair Tülay Hatimoğulları took the stage, reiterating the DEM Party’s unwavering commitment to Kurdish rights. She emphasised the broader objective of fostering equal citizenship among various communities, including Alevis, the largest minority faith group in the country. The co-chair underlined the party’s strong stance on women’s rights, youth empowerment, environmental protection and the rights of workers and the underprivileged.

Hatimoğulları pointed out the adverse impact of state-appointed trustees in Kurdish-majority areas and stressed the vital role of localised governance within a democratic framework. “We are determined to remove trustees. The local elections on 31 March signify the establishment of decentralised governance within a democratic framework, reflecting the will of the people,” she said with confidence.

Hatimoğulları detailed the party’s vision of implementing direct democracy across municipalities, overcoming geo-political boundaries. She made a solemn promise to serve all communities, regardless of their ethnic or cultural background, including Kurds, Turks, Alevis, Armenians and Assyrians.

While addressing the unique challenges faced by women in the region, Hatimoğulları highlighted issues such as the incarceration of co-mayors and councillors, the appointment of male directors to women’s advisory centres, and the removal of women’s policies and directorates by trustees. She called upon all members of society to actively participate in the campaign, emphasising that the struggle extends beyond securing voting rights to encompassing the freedom of all oppressed and marginalised groups.

Hatimoğulları concluded her address with a call for collective action, stating, “This is a time for regional and local organisations to unite and make a lasting impact. We must govern our communities with the motto ‘not me, but us.”