First election speech from Kışanak: I became a candidate for the Kurdish issue and women's freedom issue

ANKARA - DEM Party Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor candidate Gültan Kışanak, who made her first election speech in the Kobanê Case, stated that she is a candidate for the Kurdish issue and the women's freedom issue said: "We took a responsibility to pave the way for peace and freedom."
The hearing of the Kobanê Case, filed against 108 people, 18 of whom are imprisoned, including the members of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) Central Executive Board (MYK) and the party's executives, has started. The imprisonment review will be held at the hearing at Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court.
People's Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor candidate Gültan Kışanak attended the hearing via Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS) from Kocaeli Prison, where she is held. DEM Party Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor candidate Öztürk Türkdoğan also watched the hearing. Kışanak made her first election speech at the hearing.
Pointing out that she has been facing judicial harassment for years, Kışanak said: "I have been in front of the judicial authorities for about ten years. I have been in courtrooms every day since 2024 because of my political work and thoughts. Finally, I have been attending this hearing as a political hostage for 7 and a half years. Today is a little different. Today, we will encounter a different face of the political hostage of 7 and a half years. I am speaking here as the DEM Party Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor candidate of Ankara, the capital of the Republic of Turkey. Democracy in this country has been reduced to the ballot box, but for the last 8 years, the ballot box has also been in tatters. The ballot box is no longer safe. The fact that I am a candidate today in political hostage conditions is the clearest indication of this. My political opponents are performing in the field. Some are playing the double-dealing game, some are playing the Ankara game. Thus, they can stand before the public and make a living during the election process with their empty and meaningless promises. Unfortunately, we, who are the voices of these people, women and the poor, are still held in cells as political hostages."
Kışanak continued as follows: "There are many stories in the context of prisons and politics in Turkey. Unfortunately, in Turkey, especially opposition politicians have passed through prisons. But we are experiencing some firsts. For example, the defendant always served one day as the co-mayor of the city in prison and the political I think I am the first person who is dismissed by a coup, held hostage for 7 and a half years, and then became a candidate for Ankara. They keep these principles alive for us. Because we want to open a new path in this country. These days, we are asked a lot, 'What is this third way?' Or 'Who will you lose and who will you gain?' Here I say very clearly that we do not have a policy of making anyone lose or win. We are struggling to create a democratic option for our people. We are trying to implement it.
We are going through another election process in prison. In this 7 and a half year period, four elections were held and one referendum was held. Two general elections were held. The presidential election was held, a local election was held and now the second local election is being held. So we are facing the fifth election in this political hostage process. The will of the people is usurped unlawfully and unjustly. The fact that I am even a candidate here today is an indication of this. So, I am still a person qualified to be mayor. But Diyarbakır's will was usurped that day. Today, I took on the task and responsibility to build bridges of social peace from Diyarbakır to Ankara. Once again, I took responsibility and duty to ensure that the will of the people, which has become a toy in the hands of this political power, is manifested on the right basis.
In 2018, Mr. Demirtaş had to run as a presidential candidate in political hostage conditions. This is a great shame and a decision for democracy. Even though he was a presidential candidate, you did not surrender his freedom and he could not explain his program and project in the fields like his other political rivals. He did not have this opportunity. There are many prison stories in Turkey's political history, but being a political hostage and becoming a candidate from the capital of this republic, Ankara, is also a first. This will enter Turkey’s political history as a great shame.
Democracy is a race held on equal terms. But we still don't even have the freedom to express our views to the public. Fighting for the public to be heard in the courtroom is a first. They've been imposing this on us for years. We say that politics should be done among the people, in the square, in the Parliament, not in courtrooms. But the only way they show us is to do politics in the courtrooms and tell the truth to the public. This has to stop now. It is necessary to make politics possible face to face with the public in the right channel. Yes, these days have actually coincided with a historically important and meaningful time. It was the day before, on February 28, 2015, when the Dolmabahçe Agreement was announced to the public. At that time, we all believed and worked that the Kurdish issue would be possible through a democratic and peaceful way. We had to solve the Kurdish issue, which is as old as the history of the republic of this country, has a history of nearly two hundred years, and has made us all pay a heavy price, through peaceful, democratic and political means. We really don't have much experience in this regard.
Actually, this will exists. This is also included in the founding will of this republic. But since then, someone has been trying to ignore this will and divert the flow in the opposite direction. Water does not flow in reverse. No matter what you do, water will not flow in reverse. If you build dams in front of it, it will overflow. But it still flows in its own medium. We see this very clearly in politics. Every time, barriers were built in front of our struggle to discuss these issues with democratic politics, to unite Diyarbakır and Ankara and to bring them together. Obstacles have been removed. But every time, this will flowed like a flood and destroyed these dams. No one has the power to make the water flow in reverse. There is pluralism in the essence of these lands. There is peaceful coexistence in the history of these lands. You cannot impose a policy by ignoring this ancient history. We are experiencing the pain of this today. We are trying to combat the problems created by those who are eager for power and who stubbornly fight against the truth. The truth cannot be resisted. Our truth is hidden in our history, sociology and soul. In fact, it shows us how to live as equal citizens in a democratic republic. It is now necessary to remove the obstacles on this path.
Again, the Dolmabahçe Agreement; I will make another reminder. A few days later, March 4th. Anniversary of the political coup against DEP deputies. Exactly 30 years have passed. 30 years ago, they sent Kurd representatives who went to Ankara to solve the Kurdish issue through peaceful and democratic means, to prison. Today we are in prison. We don't want anyone to go to prison or underground. It is enough. These lands have had enough to pay the price. This country now has to move towards prosperity, tranquility and peace. It would be better if no one is forced to impose anything against the direction of the flow of water.
DEP deputies spent 10 years in prison with dignity and when they were released, the public welcomed them. Today, in Turkish politics, no one from different colours of the left-wing spectrum can defend the shameful act that day. This political atmosphere of today will also dissipate. Tomorrow there will be no servant of God who will defend what was done to us. No one can own this shame. No one can support a practice that is shameful and legally disgraceful. That's why we have taken on a responsibility and duty to pave the right path, to pave the way for peace, to pave the way for freedom from these past examples. I will explain the reasons for my candidacy for Ankara as the capital city a little later. Of course, what I said forms the basis of this matter.
There has been a coup against the will of this people since 2016. They made this political coup by appointing trustees to municipalities in 2016. They not only dismissed the mayor, but also usurped the positions of thousands of municipal council members. This is clearly a constitutional violation. Local wills are carried out by elected representatives. There is not a single elected government left in Diyarbakır. They dismissed all the metropolitan municipality co-mayors and district municipality co-mayors. This was a major blow to the will of the people. An election was held once in 2019 and the people once again revealed their will. But once again, this will was dealt a blow. In 2016, the immunity rights of HDP deputies and co-chairs were violated, contrary to all practices and a coup was made against the will of the people in the Parliament.
The price we are made to pay personally is meaningless. We are trying to explain that this is a fabricated file to usurp the will of the people. There were also coups after the elections held in 2018. Musa Farisoğulları's mandate was removed. They tried to do the same thing to Faruk Gergerlioğlu. In other words, there has been an uninterrupted and persistent political coup against the will of the people for exactly 7 and a half years. We are now in a new election process. Local elections will be held, again, the main topic of discussion is whether or not a trustee will be appointed according to the will of the people. I hereby condemn all politicians who make this discussion. You are doing a great shame, you are polluting the spirit of politics.
Everyone who believes in the ballot box, in the election, in the will of the people, regardless of their party, must say this very clearly; Once the will of this people is voted out, everyone has to respect it. But they don't say that, they say; 'Is DEM Party making an agreement with AKP?' Shame, shame. Stop this discussion, it's a disgrace. If you have even the slightest belief in the will of the people, against a government that has usurped the will of the people three times, today is the day to say together, 'The will of the people that came out of the ballot box is also our will, we will stand behind it, no one can stage a coup against it.' They cannot say this. Since they did not say this, I became a candidate from Ankara. This is an attitude. Everyone needs to understand this correctly. This attitude will be a result of the DEM Party entering the elections throughout Turkey. There is only one thing that women, young people, the oppressed and everyone else who is fighting this struggle must do; To accept respect for the will of the people by placing it in the first place. If you are debating what will come out of the ballot box today, go sit at home. Earn money, look for another future for yourself. Indeed, we had only one ballot box left in the definition of democracy in Turkey and they destroyed that ballot box to pieces.
Today is the day to stand with the will of the people against the trustees. I invite everyone to this. We are not talking about the period after April 1, we are talking about today and making our stance clear. No one must try to appoint trustees according to the will of the people, otherwise they will find us against them. We will uphold the will of the people everywhere. We remind this to all parties and politicians who say 'I am in opposition'. Today is the day to declare their respect for the ballot box. Not tomorrow. Of course, we remind the government and its partners of this. This is a dead end. How many more times, until where? You cannot and will not stop the will of this people. Nature will take it’s course. It will destroy the dams you have built in front of you. Just as it broke the 10 percent dam, it also broke the voting dams. That's why we invite everyone to insist on the politics of democracy.
Since the day my candidacy was announced, we have encountered two attitudes. One is the attitude of ignoring. This does not matter to me or to the DEM Party. Because we know that the politics of the rulers in this country has taken over the media. No one else appears in the media except them. Ignoring is something we others are used to. We also know how to deal with it. Our main concern is to meet people who have problems like us. We will meet with women, the poor, the laborers and the oppressed. We will meet with everyone, Turkish and Kurdish, who feel the pain of this war in their hearts. Even though we are in prison, we know the way to do this. We can find a way to do this.
A second attitude is; They ask, "Why did you become a candidate and why Ankara?" Why did I become a candidate? First of all, as I just mentioned, I became a candidate to be an answer to these conspiracy cases and this trustee policy. Secondly, I became a candidate to put the two fundamental problems that we have not been able to solve throughout the hundred-year history of this country as the basis of politics. One is the Kurdish issue, the other is the women's freedom issue. These two issues are the main issue of politics. If we cannot make progress on these issues, we can neither build liveable cities nor experience freedom. That's why I would like to bring these two issues to the agenda of the capital. Another is that they want to separate us. They want to separate Diyarbakır and Ankara. We became candidates to bring these two cities together. Because we insist on democratic politics and the republic. Despite all the evil done to us, we insist on a common homeland, being free and equal. We know very well that the solution cannot be found in Diyarbakır alone or in Ankara alone. That's why we want to bring both the democracy issue of this country and the Kurdish and women's freedom issue to the agenda of the capital of the republic. That's why I became a candidate. They insistently try to reduce elections and politics to the rhetoric of winning and losing. We are fighting not for office and position, but to win peace. That's why I say it's time for DEM in Ankara. The women's DEM also came to Ankara. We came to struggle and stand in line with the spirit of the time. I accepted this candidacy to represent this policy. DEM has really arrived, its time has come, it is even passing.
I would also like to explain our insistence on co-presidency. Because this is one of the issues on which I am judged. There is no democracy without women. Just as we reject the imposition of 'are you this or that', as in other dichotomies, we also reject the imposition of 'whether it is a man or a woman' in government. We can work together, fight together, win together. Co-presidency is the political expression of this. It is now necessary to give the democratic republic its purple colour. When this republic was established, women made incredible efforts. However, their struggle for equal rights was made invisible and only women were given the right to vote. Women were excluded from the republic, democracy and politics. It still is. When you look at the attitudes of political parties today, shameful attitudes emerge in their approach to woman candidates. We, as women, go out into the public sphere against this political understanding that assigns women the duty of serving only the members of the household, primarily the men. We are in the middle of politics. Democratic politics cannot be done without women. That's why we set out on this journey together with all women to bring the democratic republic together with the colour purple. We will fight together with women and win together with women.
Women had obtained some rights, albeit on a more or less legal level, through their own labour, but today even these legal rights are under threat. Even political approaches have emerged that refuse to let even the woman they nominate as a candidate be visible and make a billboard by icing her face. I swear, our heads are high, our faces are open. We haven't done anything to cover our faces and we won't do anything. We will struggle to exist for ourselves in public life, administration, general politics and all areas of life. A woman's candidacy in the capital of the republic also has such a meaning. I don't know if a woman mayor was elected in Ankara in the history of the Republic, but I have not seen it. Today, electoral politics in Ankara has turned into a power struggle among the ruling men. We women cannot allow this. Therefore, this is a special meaning of my candidacy for Ankara. It is to reveal the will of women in Ankara, the capital of the republic, to make it visible, to make women's solidarity the subject of politics by expanding its struggle.
From here I make this call to all women; Everyone fights their own struggle. Others will never fight for us. We, women, will reveal our own will and establish our own organization and solidarity. We will apply ointment to our own wounds. That's why I invite all women to take initiative in politics, to step forward and to join this struggle. This struggle is our struggle for freedom. We are the subject of this. No one can treat us as objects or make calculations on us. In this regard, I believe that women in Ankara and Turkey will reveal their will and support the women's freedom struggle and I wish them success. Ankara is a city with a history in youth struggle. Now that DEM has arrived in Ankara, I invite the youth of Ankara to take the initiative and join the struggle to remove politics from the power struggle and gain a democratic character.
I would like to send greetings to Diyarbakır. Because it put a lot of effort into me. It is a centre where women's will has existed for a long time. I believe that they will once again bring a strong public will through the ballot box in this election and I already salute Amed's success at the ballot box. We all have a responsibility in this regard. I may not be with you in the streets or squares, but I am with you with my heart, my consciousness, my whole being. This is a sacred struggle that will be carried out with the collective effort of all of us.
Unfortunately, the DEM Party and our Third Way strategy are not understood correctly. This path is not the path of 'I am neither from you nor not from them'. It is a way to strengthen the democratic alternative of the people. It is a political democratic struggle. Therefore, insisting on the third path is the first key to the solution. The most basic way to solve both the democracy problem, the Kurdish issue and the women's freedom problem is to bring the Third Way together with the public in a strong way. This is our duty. We will do this. We are faced with providing a democratic option for our people. DEM Party candidates choose this path. I invite everyone wherever the DEM party nominates candidates to participate most actively in the election activities and to reflect their will on the ballot box and to protect the will that will emerge from the ballot box. This is not just an election task, it is really a struggle that paves the way for discussing the problems of this country in a democratic environment. For this, it has more meaning than just a choice. The point is to take responsibility to solve the problems of this country. If the issue is to prevent bloodshed in this country, if the issue is to bring together the republic with democracy in this country, if the issue is to bring women into the public sphere, Gültan Kışanak is a detail. I am ready to pay the price and take responsibility. I want our people to pave the way to a democratic republic. Now DEM has arrived. Now is the time.
I wholeheartedly greet everyone, especially women and wish them success in their work. Peace and solution are won not at the bargaining table, but in the hearts of the people. We are setting out to build the social peace of our people. I believe we will do this too. This is in the yeast of these lands. Peace is in our essence. War is the imposition of some ruling groups. We must stand against this. I am sure that there are conscientious people in Ankara, Tekirdağ, Hakkari and Van who will support it. Peace is gained through effort. We will work, we will explain, we will reveal the power and will of peace politics in the face of war. We will be together with the people to build social peace with our heart, consciousness and sincerity. We can do this. I believe that we will do it with great sincerity. I am working to be your comrade, I am working to be secular, I am working to alleviate the pain of our grieving mothers even a little bit. May our path lead to peace and a democratic republic. I want them to go out to live as free and equal citizens in the common homeland. We are setting out to break all the barricades, isolations and dams placed in front of us and we will win."