People's Labor Party

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People's Labor Party
Turkish: Halkın Emek Partisi, HEP
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

People's Labor Party or People's Work Party (Turkish: Halkın Emek Partisi, HEP) was a pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey. It was founded on 7 June 1990 by seven members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly expelled from the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP). HEP was led by Ahmet Fehmi Işıklar.[1]It first viewed itself as a party for the whole of Turkey. 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.[2] For the elections of 1991 it formed an alliance with the SHP of Erdal Inönü.[3] The HEP was involved in peace negotiations with the PKK. On 16 April 1993 chairman Ahmet Türk and five other MP traveled to the PKK in Lebanon, demanding a prolongation of the cease fire declared by the PKK before.[4] Due to the overt promotion of Kurdish cultural and political rights the party was banned by the Constitutional Court in July 1993.[5] The party was succeeded by the Democracy Party (DEP) established in May 1993.[1]

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.[6]


  1. ^ a b 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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ Watts, Nicole F. (2010). Activists in Office. University of Washington Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780295990491.
  3. ^ Turan, Ilter (2015-04-16). Turkey's Difficult Journey to Democracy: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. OUP Oxford. p. 205. ISBN 9780191640612.
  4. ^ Gunes, Cengiz (2013-01-11). The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance. Routledge. p. 163. ISBN 9781136587986.
  5. ^ Güney 2002, p. 124.
  6. ^ 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]