Left Party (Turkey)

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Left Party

Sol Parti
LeaderÖnder İşleyen[1]
Founded1 September 1996 (1996-21-01)
Preceded byFreedom and Solidarity Party
HeadquartersAnkara, Turkey
Membership (2020)Increase 5,023[2]
Left-wing populism
Political positionLeft-wing
National affiliationUnited June Movement
European affiliationParty of the European Left
0 / 550
4 / 2,919

The Left Party (Turkish: Sol Parti), is a secular, socialist political party in Turkey.[3] The Party was founded after Freedom and Solidarity Party (Turkish: Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi - ÖDP) has decided to change its name as the Left Party at the 8th Extraordinary Congress held in Ankara on December 22, 2019.[4]

Although after the foundation the leadership of the Left Party did not completely rule out the legacy of its predecessor (ÖDP), which was more inclined to libertarian socialism and political pluralism ideologically, the party tends to differentiate itself from the past.[5] It now adheres to the guiding principles of socialist politics (including public ownership, social justice, and equality), embraces the ideas and historical achievements of Marxist and left-wing revolutionary tradition in Turkey (more specifically the party cadres consisted of former militants and sympathizers of radical-left Devrimci Yol movement in the 1970s), and included the elements of left-wing populism in its manifesto.[6]

In retrospect, neither the Left Party nor ÖDP (its predecessor) did demonstrate significant electoral success in Turkey. The party has never been able to achieve vote share more than Turkey's 10 percent national election threshold. Thus, it did not have any opportunity to be represented in the parliament as a party. However, the party launched and carried out several political campaigns to build extra-parliamentary opposition in Turkey, often together with other left-wing groups and parties, civil society organizations and trade unions. Also, in different local elections, it had minor achievements in places like Hopa.

Today the Left Party has no single leader. Instead, it is ruled by the Board of Presidents consisting of four members (including Önder İşleyen [official leader], Pelin Bektaş, Çiçek Çatalkaya ve İlknur Başer).

The party is a member of the European Left and it is nationally affiliated with the United June Movement.


It was founded in 1996 as a merger of several left-wing groupings. In the 1999 general election, its first major electoral outing, the party polled 0.8% of the vote, falling far behind the 10% threshold required for parliamentary representation. A deep internal crisis followed and by 2001, several of the initial groupings left. In 2002 elections, the party's share of the national vote fell further to 0.3%.

In the 2004 local elections, the ÖDP gained control of two town halls in Artvin and Yozgat provinces. In these elections, the ÖDP had joined an electoral coalition with the pro-Kurdish Democratic People's Party (Turkey) (DEHAP) and the left Social Democrat SHP (Sosyaldemokrat Halk Partisi). At the next 2009 local elections, Mithat Nehir was the sole victorious ÖDP candidate in the entire republic (17,723 votes for the whole country, i.e. 0.04%), and became mayor of the Samandağ district.[7][8]

Ufuk Uras, who was then the president of the party was elected to the parliament from the independents' ticket, during the 2007 general election. The party's formal lists, which hadn't fielded candidates in several key constituencies in support of the left-wing candidates standing on the independents' ticket, polled 0.15% in that poll.

In the 6th congress held on June 20, 2009, the delegates elected Alper Taş as the new leader, solely nominated as the chairmanship. Apart from the discussions on some political headlines, Party Assembly consisting of sixty people was also assigned. In this congress, the signals that the party will have a more anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist route were given.

Former chairman Ufuk Uras resigned from ÖDP on June 19, 2009, one day before the congress. During a press conference at Parliament, Uras said, “We are resigning together with the Freedom Left, who have worked in the founding of the party and held various positions at different times in the ÖDP -- from provincial and district branch administration to membership in the party council, central steering and discipline committees -- where we have been struggling since its founding for a historic meeting that overrides the existing structures.”

In the 8th extraordinary congress in 22 December 2019, the party changed its name to Left Party.[9]


The Libertarian Socialist Platform within the Freedom and Solidarity Party is a successor to the Dev Yol radical left-wing movement.[10] Other minor groups are New Way (USFI member), Liberation Movement (joined Socialist Democracy Party in 2002), Odak that links to Direniş Hareketi (founded as THKP-C/Third Way and joined to Socialist Democracy Party in 2002), Socialist Labor Movement. Libertarian Left Platform, the tendency that was supportive of Ufuk Uras left the party with Uras in June 2009 and was one of the groups that eventually established the Peoples' Democratic Party.

Election results[edit]

  • General Elections[11]
Year Votes Vote percentage
1999 248,553 % 0.80
2002 105,862 % 0.34
2007 52,195 % 0.15
  • Local Elections
Year Votes Vote percentage
1999 263,814 % 0.84
2004 12,026 % 0.04
2009 62,909 % 0.15



  1. ^ "Sol Parti" (in Turkish). T.C. Yargıtay Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Sol Parti" (in Turkish). Yargıtay Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "ÖDP'nin yeni adı Sol Parti oldu". Gazete Duvar. 22 December 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.(in Turkish)
  4. ^ "Turkey's leftist Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) renamed Left Party". Duvar English. 24 December 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Alper Taş: Sol Parti'de mütevazı olarak yer alacağım, yeni yüzlerin olması daha iyi". The Independent Türkçe. 26 December 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.(in Turkish)
  6. ^ "Manifestomuz". Retrieved 7 April 2020.(in Turkish)
  7. ^ Results for Samandağ, Hürriyet
  8. ^ National results for the ÖDP Archived 2016-03-11 at the Wayback Machine, Hürriyet
  9. ^ odpadmin, odpadmin. "Kongremiz toplandı ve ismimiz Değişti: Yeni isim SOL PARTİ | Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi" (in Turkish). Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  10. ^ Gunter, Michael M. (2010). Historical Dictionary of the Kurds (2nd ed.). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Pub. Group. p. 83 and 247. ISBN 0810875071.
  11. ^ "Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi - ÖDP Partisi Seçim Sonuçları - Seçim Sonuçları". www.secim-sonuclari.com. Retrieved 2019-03-30.

External links[edit]