To strengthen the opposition, the Kurdish party will not present a candidate
By SUZAN FRASER
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Turkey’s pro-Kurdish political party and its allies said Wednesday they would not field a candidate to run in the country. May 14 presidential electiona move that could boost an opposition bloc’s chances of toppling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
As Turkey is mired in economic turmoil and in the midst of a difficult recovery from a devastating earthquake last month, Erdogan faces the toughest re-election bid in his reign of two decades as prime minister and as president.
A coalition of six opposition parties known as the Nation Alliance has united behind the candidacy of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the secular republican people’s party. The coalition has pledged to dismantle a presidential system that has concentrated a large amount of power in the hands of Erdogan. Critics say the system amounts to a one-man rule with no checks and balances.
In announcing that the Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, would not field its own presidential candidate, Co-Chair Pervin Buldan did not voice outright support for Kilicdaroglu, but the decision was widely seen as the party’s tacit support. to the anti-Erdogan bloc.
The HDP is the second opposition party in the Turkish parliament and holds around 10% of the vote. His support is therefore crucial for the opposition’s attempt to defeat Erdogan. In 2019, HDP support helped the Kilicdaroglus party win the municipalities of Ankara and Istanbul in the 2019 local elections.
However, the party was expelled from the National Alliance, which includes Islamists and nationalists as well as the centre-left Kilicdaroglus party. The HDP instead formed an alliance with a group of left-wing parties.
We are determined to hold the government and those responsible for the great destruction … accountable, Buldan said. For these reasons, we publicly declare that we will not nominate a candidate for the presidential elections.
The government has accused the HDP of collusion with the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Dozens of elected HDP lawmakers and mayors, including former party co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, and thousands of party members have been arrested on terrorism-related charges.
Critics say the actions are part of a crackdown on the party, which faces closure.
Meanwhile, Erdogan suffered a setback this week after a small Islamist party refused to join his ruling party’s alliance with two nationalist parties and announced it would field its own presidential candidate.
In another upset, respected former economy minister Mehmet Simsek reportedly rejected an offer to return to the post.
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