Two members of the pro-Kurdish HDP party, Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Ali Konca and Development Minister Muslum Dogan have tendered their resignations today, in an apparent protest of the government’s military offensive against the Kurdish PKK.
The HDP had been in the opposition, but became part of a unity “election government” after the ruling AKP failed to get a majority, and is holding some positions in anticipation of an election this autumn. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said it was unlikely either minister would be replaced before the vote.
Konca and Dogan were the first two HDP members to ever get ministries in a sitting national government, as this was the first time the HDP got beyond the 10% threshold to be able to have seats in parliament. The party has long been a pro-minority party with strong support in the Kurd-dominated southeast.
The last election saw the ruling AKP fall just short of a majority, with 40% of the popular vote. The CHP came in second place with 25%, while the ultranationalist and vehemently anti-Kurd MHP got 16% and the HDP got 13%. The AKP sought to court both the CHP and the MHP, but made no effort to form a unity government with the HDP.
The MHP had demanded a war against the Kurds as a condition for joining the government, but after the war began also demanded some anti-corruption measures, which effectively killed the chances for a deal.