HDP keeps faith in Erdogan's election rival

5/25/2023 3:47:14 PM
Turkey's pro-Kurdish party decided Thursday to continue backing the main opposition leader despite his overtures to far-right parties in the runup to this weekend's historic presidential runoff.

Secular candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu alarmed his leftist Kurdish supporters by starting to court staunchly nationalist voters after losing to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the first round on May 14.

Kilicdaroglu put together the opposition's best performance of Erdogan's two-decade era in what is widely seen as Turkey's most consequential election of its post-Ottoman era.

But the 74-year-old still enters Turkey's first runoff vote Sunday trailing the conservative incumbent by nearly five points.

The pro-Kurdish HDP party and its green allies -- the third-largest voting bloc in the new parliament -- expressed particular alarm when Kilicdaroglu joined forces with a fringe far-right group this week.

Kilicdaroglu also unsuccessfully courted the endorsement of Sinan Ogan -- an ultra-nationalist who finished a distant third in the presidential ballot and threw his support behind Erdogan on Monday.

Turkish media reported that some HDP members wanted to call for a boycott of the second round in protest at Kilicdaroglu's tactics.

But HDP co-leader Pervin Buldan told reporters that staying away from the polls would only help Erdogan secure another five-year term.

"Erdogan is not an option for us," Buldan said.

"On May 28, we will complete the work that we left unfinished on May 14. In the face of those who try to prevent this demand for change, we will definitely go to the polls."

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