People's Labour Party (Turkey)

(Redirected from People's Labor Party)

The People's Labour Party (Turkish: Halkın Emek Partisi, HEP), sometimes translated as the People's Work Party, was a pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey.

People's Labour Party
Halkın Emek Partisi
LeaderAhmet Fehmi Işıklar
FoundedJune 7, 1990 (1990-06-07)
BannedJuly 14, 1993 (1993-07-14)
Split fromSocial Democratic Populist Party
Succeeded byFreedom and Democracy Party
Freedom and Equality Party
IdeologySocial democracy
Kurdish nationalism
Political positionLeft-wing


It was founded on 7 June 1990 by seven members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly expelled from the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP).[1] They were expelled from the SHP for having attended a Kurdish congress organized by the Kurdish Institute in Paris.[2] HEP was led by Ahmet Fehmi Işıklar.[1] It first viewed itself as a party for the whole of Turkey. But that a party represented in the Turkish Parliament openly demanded more rights for the Kurds was new to Turkish politics.[3] Its politicians held speeches in front of audiences of up to 10'000 people in South East Turkey, which was deemed a danger to the public security by the Turkish authorities.[4] In view of the "Kurdish question", the HEP vigorously campaigned for the peoples right for self-determination of the people by means of a federation, referendum or similar kind of solution found by the people.[4] During the Newroz celebrations in March, In June 1991 its president Işıklar declared on its first party congress that several circles tried to brand the party as a Kurdish party, and since the party is a party of the suppressed, and with in this frame work, they are proud of being called a Kurdish party. Some days later he reiterated that they were not uncomfortable with being called a Kurdish Party since it was the Kurds, whose rights were most infringed. After this declaration, several of the Turkish founding members resigned.[5]

1991 electionsEdit

For the 1991 Turkish general election, it formed an electoral alliance with the SHP of Erdal Inönü,[4][6] and 22 politicians from the HEP entered the parliament with this alliance.[7] The HEP was involved in peace negotiations with the PKK. On 16 April 1993 chairman Ahmet Türk and five other MPs traveled to the Bar Elias in Lebanon, demanding a prolongation of the cease fire declared by the PKK before.[8] The cease-fire was prolonged at a press conference given the same day.[9]


Due to the overt promotion of Kurdish cultural and political rights the party was banned by the Constitutional Court in July 1993.[10] The party was succeeded by the Democracy Party (DEP) established in May 1993.[1] In 2002 the European Court of Human Rights granted Feridun Yazar, Ahmet Karataş and Ibrahim Aksoy each 10`000€ and another 10`000€ combined due to the banning of their party.[11]

Vedat Aydın, the Diyarbakır branch chairman of HEP, was found dead on a road near Malatya on 7 July 1991, two days after armed men had taken him from his home in Diyarbakır. His wife, Sükran Aydın states that her husband's murder was a turning point and that there was a sudden increase in the number of unsolved murders in Turkey's southeastern region following his death. She says that JİTEM, a clandestine unit within the Turkish Gendarmerie, was responsible for his murder.[12]



  1. ^ a b c Aylin Güney. "The People's Democracy Party" (PDF). Political Parties in Turkey. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Almost All Party Chairs Served Jail Term". Bianet. 3 May 2017.
  3. ^ Güvenç, Muna (2011). "Constructing Narratives of Kurdish Nationalism in the Urban Space of Diyarbakir, Turkey". Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review. 23 (1): 27. ISSN 1050-2092. JSTOR 41758881.
  4. ^ a b c Watts, Nicole F. (November 1999). "Allies and Enemies: Pro-Kurdish Parties in Turkish Politics, 1990–94". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 31 (4): 636–637. doi:10.1017/S0020743800057123. ISSN 1471-6380. S2CID 155216330.
  5. ^ Watts, Nicole F. (2010). Activists in Office. University of Washington Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780295990491.
  6. ^ Turan, Ilter (2015-04-16). Turkey's Difficult Journey to Democracy: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. OUP Oxford. p. 205. ISBN 9780191640612.
  7. ^ Watts, Nicole F. (2011-07-01). Activists in Office: Kurdish Politics and Protest in Turkey. University of Washington Press. p. 68. ISBN 9780295800820.
  8. ^ Gunes, Cengiz (2013-01-11). The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance. Routledge. p. 163. ISBN 9781136587986.
  9. ^ Özcan, Ali Kemal (2006). Turkey's Kurds: A Theoretical Analysis of the PKK and Abdullah Ocalan. Routledge. p. 205. ISBN 9780415366878.
  10. ^ Güney 2002, p. 124.
  12. ^ Melik Duvakli (2 March 2009). "Wife of slain Kurdish politician says husband killed by JİTEM". Today's Zaman. Retrieved 24 May 2010. Şükran Aydın: a clandestine unit within the gendarmerie is responsible for the murder.[permanent dead link]