Further Turkish opposition parties back talks with pro-Kurdish HDP

Flags for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Gaziantep, Turkey in 2015.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Two parties in Turkey’s main opposition bloc said they would support talks with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on backing their challenger to Tayyip Erdogan in elections on May 14, despite concern it would deter nationalist voters.

The Nation Alliance of six opposition parties from widely varied backgrounds named Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), as their candidate this week.

A victory in the first round, which would require more than 50 percent of the vote, is unlikely however without support from the HDP, widely seen as playing a kingmaker role in the votes that could end Erdogan’s two-decade political reign.

Polls suggest it will be tight race for both the presidency and the parliament.

HDP co-leader Mithat Sancar called on Monday for talks “about principles” with the bloc that may pave the way for the party to support Kilicdaroglu.

A senior party official from the alliance had told Reuters on Tuesday that HDP support may deter voters from the nationalist IYI Party and the Islamist Felicity (Saadet) Party.

However, Birol Aydin, a spokesperson for the Felicity Party, told broadcaster Haberturk that Kilicdaroglu should speak with the HDP.

IYI Party leader Meral Aksener said she would not object to other parties establishing dialogue with the HDP but would not join discussions herself.

Two other alliance parties, DEVA Party and Future Party, would also welcome talks with the HDP, sources told Reuters.

The HDP had said it would field its own candidate along with a different alliance of left-wing and pro-Kurdish parties but it is now re-evaluating that decision.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court is hearing a case aimed at closing the HDP over alleged ties to Kurdish militants, which the party denies. In campaigning, Erdogan will likely play up alleged links and the HDP’s opposition role, analysts say.

(Esta Media Network/Reuters)

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