With DEM Party Municipalities to Local Democracy and Free Cities

We, the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party – DEM Party, officially launched our campaign for the upcoming local elections in Turkey, scheduled for March 31. This election represents an opportunity to reconnect with municipalities that were unlawfully seized by government-appointed trustees. It also gives us a chance to make new gains.

At the event in Ankara on Sunday, our Co-Chairs Tuncer Bakırhan and Tülay Hatimoğulları presented our election manifesto for the local elections. They were joined by our co-mayoral candidates and party members. The manifesto underscores our dedication to tackling diverse social issues and fostering inclusive governance.


The current government's stance on peace, the Kurdish issue, and social injustices is unacceptable. We advocate for a democratic and egalitarian society, beginning from local governance.

We are resolute in our commitment to addressing the needs of every segment of society, including women, children, the disabled, the elderly, and the youth. Our manifesto emphasizes a collective victory approach, demonstrating our determination to succeed without drawing lines between "you and me," or "them and us."

Here are some key points of the election manifesto:

We are committed to tackling a wide range of social issues, such as providing multilingual municipality services, ensuring the inclusion of all community groups in local governance, and implementing eco-friendly, inclusive, and democratic local policies.

We pledge to increase the participation of youth and women in local governance through various initiatives aimed at creating more inclusive and participatory local administrations.

Our policies will uphold and promote the cultural rights of all community groups within the municipalities.

We have outlined plans for accessible healthcare, social housing, job creation, and the promotion of local economies, with a focus on sustainability and equality.

Our top priority is eco-friendly urban development, building disaster-resilient infrastructure, and creating public spaces that cater to the needs of all residents.


Take a look at the highlights in our preparation journey for Turkey's March 31 local elections:

Pioneering Primaries in Kurdish Cities

Our journey towards the local elections began with the primaries.

In the run-up to Turkey’s Local Elections in March 2024, we embarked on an ambitious mission. We sought to nominate candidates through an innovative primary election process, marking a significant milestone in Turkey’s political history. With the active participation of over 100,000 delegates, we organized the most extensive primary election in Turkey.

During the primaries, we selected candidates for various positions, including co-mayors, municipal council members, and provincial council members. For this purpose, we established polling stations in 90 locations in Kurdish cities on January 13th and 14th.

It's Not Just About Numbers; It's About Values

Our aim was to select candidates who champion women's freedom, environmental protection, human rights, and peace – the cornerstones of a just society. We reached out to all social segments, ensuring inclusivity and representation.

We welcomed not only party members but also representatives from NGOs, professional organizations, and former party members. We ensured equal representation by upholding gender parity – delegates voted for one male and one female candidate in all nominations, reflecting our unwavering commitment to gender equality.

Urban Consensus Model - Collaboration is Key 

The candidates for western cities were selected through a social consensus system, where the party electorate participated in the nomination process.

We introduced the ‘Urban Consensus Model’ for candidate selection in Turkey’s western cities, a novel approach aiming to involve a broad spectrum of community members. Our Election and Local Governance Committees have dedicated themselves to extensive fieldwork, research, and reporting, resulting in the development of this new primary election model.

The urban consensus model extends invitations to members of democratic organizations, families, former administrators, and contributors to the city. Discussions surrounding critical issues such as the Kurdish problem and women's liberation have been central to the consensus platform, as we strive to address the needs and aspirations of all segments of society.

Candidates for Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir

One of our proudest moments was nominating Gültan Kışanak, a former co-mayor of Diyarbakır who is currently imprisoned, as our mayoral candidate for Ankara. Her story epitomizes our struggle for justice and inclusivity.

Kışanak has been imprisoned for seven and a half years. Despite her legal team's appeals for release, citing the expiration of the maximum detention period, the court has denied these requests, prolonging her imprisonment beyond the seven-year limit.

Through her lawyers, Kışanak conveyed her acceptance of the nomination as a duty to her people. She expressed her commitment to addressing core issues such as the Kurdish question and women’s rights directly from the capital. She underscored the importance of initiating discussions in Ankara to foster societal peace across Turkey.

Additionally, we have put forward Meral Danış Beştaş, an MP, and former MP Murat Çepni as co-mayoral candidates for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. For the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, our co-mayoral candidates are Mr. Akın Birdal and Ms. Turkan Aslan.

21 February 2024