Turkey elections: Pro-Kurdish HDP will not field presidential candidate
The pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP), the third largest party in parliament, announced on Wednesday that it will not field a presidential candidate in the upcoming May elections, opening the way for a united opposition against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. .
Party co-chairman Pervin Buldan made the statement on behalf of the Freedom and Labor Alliance – which includes the HDP, Turkish Workers’ Party (TIP) and other leftist parties – at a press conference in Ankara.
‘We will fulfill our historic responsibility towards one-man rule in the presidential elections’
– HDP co-chairman Pervin Buldan
“We will fulfill our historic responsibility towards one-man rule in the presidential elections,” she said.
“We are determined to hold those responsible for the great destruction from this government, which has maintained an administration based on poverty, corruption, looting and rent, from achieving democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms, and social justice in the country. “
Although she did not make it clear in the press conference, it is widely assumed that the HDP will throw its weight behind Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) who is the nominated candidate of the opposition National Alliance.
Kilicdaroglu met the HDP leadership in Turkey’s parliament building on Tuesday, the day before the announcement, where he promised to end restrictions on the Kurdish language and address other issues related to Turkey’s largest minority.
The National Alliance opposed an alliance with the HDP because of the Turkish nationalist sentiments of many of its members, especially the right-wing Iyi Party.
However, HDP supporters are widely seen as potential kingpins in the election and Kilicdaroglu has made many appeals to Kurdish and left-wing voters.
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A report by independent outlet Medyascope on Wednesday showed a rise in applications for parliamentary candidates for the CHP, a party long associated with Turkish nationalism, in Kurdish-majority cities in Turkey.
The HDP faces many obstacles in the run-up to the elections, which Erdogan has set for May 14.
In March 2021, the chief public prosecutor of the Court of Cassation, Bekir Sahin, applied to the Constitutional Court to ban the HDP, citing its alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The HDP has denied any PKK connection and claims it is an attempt by the government to shut down the party.
Thousands of HDP members and officials, including two former leaders, are currently in prison in Turkey.
On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court rejected the HDP’s request to delay the outcome of the closed case until after the May election.