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Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections have not left many controversial issues, except for the emergence of the Kurdish religiously conservative Free Reason Party (Huda-Par).

Huda-Par, who is allied with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won four of the 600 parliamentary seats on May 14 and entered the list of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Those victories will give Erdogan’s People’s Coalition another boost as he campaigns to win a runoff in Sunday’s presidential election.

For members of the opposition party, which is similar to the Kurdish militant group Huda-Parn Hezbollah, the new MPs are a frightening development.

Football fans chanted “We don’t want Hezbollah in parliament” in stadiums, opposition leaders cited the group’s killings in the 1990s, and many activists raised concerns about women’s rights, which Huda-Par advocated for a backlash on behalf of women. Tradition.

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Since the turkey is not packed

The Kurdish Islamist party’s presence in parliament has become a lightning rod for Turkey’s renewed secularism and ethnic debates, issues that could feature in Sunday’s runoff.

Kurdish Hezbollah

But what exactly is Huda-Par, and what is Hezbollah? Are they related to each other?

First, the Turkish-based Hezbollah (which translates as the Party of God) has nothing to do with the popular Lebanese name.

Second, Huda-Par officials vehemently deny allegations that their party is the political wing of Hezbollah, a designated terrorist organization. That said, Huda-Par officials admit that some former Hezbollah fighters are among its members.

Kurdish Hezbollah His focus was on overthrowing Turkey’s secular political system and advocating for Kurdish rights, including the preservation of the Kurdish language.

But the conflict that primarily concerned Hezbollah was not with government forces, but with the PKK.

Viewing the PKK as an organization formed by infidels to corrupt religious Kurds with Marxist ideology, Hezbollah armed itself in the 1990s to fight PKK fighters in Kurdish-controlled cities.

Many believe that the Turkish government has facilitated Hezbollah’s fight against the PKK. However, Hezbollah’s anti-PKK stance quickly turned into Takfiri Islam, whereby any Muslim who did not strictly adhere to Islamic laws or adhere to Hezbollah’s interpretations was an infidel worthy of punishment.

April 14 (Reuters) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves the HUDA-PAR flag at a rally in Diyarbakir.
A Huda-Par flag is waved during a Diyarbakir rally for President Riek Machar on April 14 (Reuters).

Omar, a leader of a prominent Islamic community in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir, told Middle East Eye that Hezbollah is so extreme that its members have started attacking Islamic scholars who do not support their cause. MEE asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject.

“They were so radicalized in the 1990s that they hurt religious Muslims more than the government and the PKK.”

In the year In the second half of the 1990s, police discovered mass graves and torture chambers linked to Hezbollah in Konya, Adana, and elsewhere.

One of their biggest targets was Konka Kuris, a Muslim feminist activist who believed that the Qur’an needed to be reinterpreted to fit modern needs. In the year Found dead in Konya in 2000, police admit to having been tortured and killed by Hezbollah in 1999.

Another prominent figure said to have been killed by Hezbollah is Diyarbakir police chief Ghafar Okkan.

Okkan played a key role in crushing Hezbollah in the southern city, but was killed along with five other policemen in a gunfight with suspected militants.

The group abducted several prominent Kurds, interrogated and tortured them.

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One kidnapping victim told Middle East Eye that after their release, they left their Kurdish town and settled in western Turkey.

In the year In 2000, Hezbollah leader Huseyn Velioglu was killed in a police raid on a house in Istanbul’s Beykoz. The group is believed to have disbanded following this operation.

However, many, like Diyarbakır Omar, believe that Huda-Par has re-emerged as a legitimate, unarmed political party.

“After Velioglu was killed, their understanding of Islam and their political approach changed,” Omar said.

“They have made peace with other Islamic communities. [Kurdish] Range. He apologized to many Islamic scholars. They now focus on social activities such as helping the poor or organizing grand ceremonies to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday.

In fact, every year in April, nearly a million people gather in Diyarbakır for an event sponsored by Huda-Par authorities, with sermons and songs in Turkish and Kurdish.

The establishment of Huda-Par as a legal political party also caused controversy among former Hezbollah fighters, which led to its radical wing being alienated from the party, Omer believes.

Mashuk Kurt, a Hezbollah expert at the University of London’s Royal Holloway, told MEE that after 2000, the group had “a quiet period for a few years, and in the mid-2000s it turned into a legal entity”.

“They remain very conservative and loyal to Islamic ideology, but their methods have changed, and their activities have become legal over the past two decades,” he said.

Hooda-Par denied the allegations

Huda-Par was officially established as a political party in 2012 after receiving the necessary approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Its leader, Zekiria Yapcioglu, denies accusations that his party is a successor to Hezbollah, but says it does not view the armed group as a terrorist organization.

Asked to comment on the party’s allegations and origins, a Huda-Par official said, “All information about our party is available on its website.”

Kurt argues that Hezbollah and Huda-Par have “a common ideology and a base of support… but only the judiciary can create an organic bond between the groups.”

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Even so, the opposition is determined to draw a line between the party and Hezbollah, which highlights Huda-Par’s criticism of Turkish secularism and the armed group’s history of violence.

The Huda-Par party program has condemned the Kurdish uprisings as a response to secularism and Turkification, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the state.

It calls for an official apology from the Turkish government and compensation for the victims.

The program called for the recognition of the Kurds in the constitution, calling both the Turks and the Kurds “the founders of the country”. He says Kurdish should be accepted as the second official language and used for education.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, famously said that the Lion Turks should be removed from schools and government institutions. The program also calls for official status for religious schools.

These questions are no different from those of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), a left-wing pro-Kurdish party that has been repeatedly accused by the government and its allies of having ties to the PKK.

However, Huda-Par counts Turkish nationalists like the MHP and soon-to-be presidential candidate Sinan Öğan as his electoral allies.

A useful combination

Clues to why the AKP, MHP and others are happy to sit down with Huda-Par can be seen in recent comments by Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu.

He told a television program earlier this week: “It is a very important step taken by the Republic of Turkey and Turkish politics in the last few years.” [the alliance with] Huda-Par. You will see in 10 years… how the conservative axis in the east and southeast of Turkey will gain a lot of ground.

In the year In the 2018 elections, Hooda-Par received 0.31 percent of the vote, failing to win a single seat. This year it was held on the list of AKP, so it is not known how many votes were obtained for the Kurdish party in particular.

Soylu, however, said he believed the number was not important and said the party had nothing to do with Hezbollah.

The government accuses the opposition of hypocrisy, pointing to the previous meeting between Huda-Par and the parties in the Six Table.

A former HDP member, who asked not to be named, told MEE that his party had been aware of the AKP’s plan to acquire Huda-Par for a long time.

“People, especially young people, don’t remember the 1990s and the atrocities of Hezbollah,” he said.

As a former member of the HDP, Huda-Par could appeal to conservative religious voters and offer economic benefits due to his alliance with the government.

“In this way, they try to attract more votes from the conservative Kurds.”

Kurt believes that Huda-Par, with four MPs, will now have more space and platforms to spread his messages and activities in Parliament.