Murat Çepni: DEM Party is not a sum of votes, it is a freedom movement

The DEM Party Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality co-mayor candidate Murat Çepni said that the DEM Party is not a sum of votes, it is a freedom movement.

The DEM Party announced that it will enter the elections with its own candidates in Istanbul, one of the most discussed cities in the local elections of 31 March 2024. The candidates were announced on 9 February, also to prevent voters from being stuck between two candidates (the AKP and the CHP’s ones) in Istanbul, one of the most important cities to run.

The DEM Party, which plays a key role in Istanbul, nominated Meral Danış Beştaş and Murat Çepni as candidates for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

There was much debate about whether the DEM Party would nominate a candidate or which party it would support in Istanbul. The city was won by the CHP with the support of the HDP in the 2019 elections.

Murat Çepni is known as a Central Executive Board member of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed and a HDP Izmir MP in the past term.

'DEM Party is the solution address for the people'

Çepni told ANF that the DEM Party is the “solution address to the problems experienced by the oppressed, Alevis, workers, women and young people, and especially the Kurdish question.” He added: "Every party runs the elections because it thinks its own program is the more correct and advanced. Its strategic goal is to win. The goal of winning also includes all kinds of tactics and alliance steps. Based on this general acceptance, the DEM Party is the solution address to the economic and political problems experienced by all oppressed peoples, Alevis, workers, women and youth, and especially the Kurdish question."

Çepni continued: “All other bourgeois establishment parties either end up not solving the problems or stall their expectations for a solution without touching the systemic source of the problem. This being the case, it is normal for the DEM Party to engage in politics wherever it is located and to run its own candidates in the elections. What would be abnormal would be the opposite. If we didn’t run the elections, you would need to ask ‘why’?"

Stating that the system is trying to institutionalize a two-party politics and to erase the oppressed from the political scene as a political subject, Çepni said: “The capital order aims to institutionalize a two-party-party politics. This situation aims to prevent the oppressed from appearing on the stage as a political subject forever. In other words, it is a long-term strategic liquidation attack. The DEM Party is and will nominate its own candidates wherever possible, based on this perspective."

Stating that the pressure on the DEM Party not to nominate candidates was intentional, Çepni said that democratic alliances would not be rejected. "They told us 'If you nominate a candidate, this party will lose, don't take this responsibility.' This type of pressure is intentional. These discourses are against the nature of politics. Of course, this fundamental truth does not negate democratic alliances. However, organizationally and politically, they should be winners, not losers.”

"We will work together with the people"

Çepni said that they are not an election party, they are a freedom movement. “Electoral equations are not our sole basis for politics. We are a people's movement, not an election party. If you cannot become a popular movement, it is not possible to achieve election results. Our election efforts will continue in multiple dimensions. It will have both a general political dimension and a local political dimension. More precisely, we will discuss local governments in connection with general politics. Because local governments in Turkey are centered in Ankara. Local initiatives have been reduced. We will carry out our work together with the people. Our party has significant experience in local governments. The trustee coup meant to break this experience. We will promote our ecological, democratic, pro-labour, people’s municipalities program."