KDP Turkey announces support for Erdogan in constitutional referendum

The KDP Alliance Initiative declared its support for the AKP government's constitutional reform at a press conference on 12 March 2017

The Masoud Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) branch in Turkey, KDP-Turkey, has announced today that it is going to campaign for a ‘yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum on constitutional reform that envisages wider powers for the country’s president.

In a press statement organised in the eastern city of Mardin, KDP-Turkey’s spokesperson Ahmet Acar said, “We are gathered here today to announce our stance, as KDP-Turkey, on the 18-article reform of the system of government and the proposed presidential system.”

“Dear friends, the 94-year-old Kemalist paradigm has preserved the denial policies of the Republic. We see this referendum as an opportunity to rid the state of the bureaucratic structures that have impeded democracy and democratisation and for this reason we will say ‘yes’ in the referendum,” Acar declared.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)-proposed and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)-backed constitutional reform proposal has divided the country. The reform package is being opposed by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Kurdish-majority Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP).

While relations between the Turkish government and its own Kurdish population are severely strained, Ankara’s relationship with the Kurdistan Regional Government in the north of Iraq, specifically with the KDP, is flourishing.

KDP leader Masoud Barzani visited Ankara last month where he met with both the prime minister and president.

Prior to today’s statement, PKK commander Cemil Bayik had said that “In a time like this Mr. Barzani went to Turkey. This visit benefited [president] Erdogan. We’re not against him visiting Turkey. However, his visit is a sign of support for Erdogan and for his referendum campaign. If Erdogan wins the referendum, this will mean a rise in anti-Kurdish policies in Turkey. How can Mr. Barzani support this policy?”