Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party which proclaimed this republic in 1923, is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strongest rival, and ironically the party has Kurdish support this time around.
The site of the Kurds in the elections
“Sky News Arabia” monitors the Kurdish site in the candidacy and voting card for the elections scheduled for May 14:
• The number of Kurds is 15 million, which represents approximately 20% of the Turkish population.
• The Peoples’ Democratic Party is the political representative of the Kurds and formed the third largest parliamentary bloc during the last legislature.
• The party decided to stand in the legislative elections under the name of the Green Left Party; For fear of banning the party against which lawsuits have been filed, accused of being a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), described as “terrorist”.
• The Kurdish parties have formed an electoral alliance in the name of “Work and Freedom”.
• Opinion polls indicate that this coalition will obtain between 10 and 12% of the vote and will almost certainly cross the electoral threshold set at 7%.
• During the presidential elections, the Labor and Freedom Alliance decided to support the opposition National Alliance candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
• Kurdish support for Kılıçdaroğlu has boosted voter turnout for him in Kurdish provinces to almost 63%, according to an opinion poll by the Raust Foundation. This is the first time that Kurds have voted for the opposition candidate.
• In the 2014 and 2018 elections, Erdogan obtained 40% of the votes from the Kurdish provinces, but it does not seem that he is able to maintain this percentage this time.
• In the event of the loss of the parliamentary majority by the coalition in power, the Peoples’ Democratic Party will be the pompom of the balance which will make it possible to form the government.
• Despite the hostile history between the Republican People’s Party, which claims to be loyal to Turkish nationalism, and the Kurds, the party has recently committed to a peaceful discourse towards them, which has enabled it to converge according to the exchange of common interests in the face of the Justice and Development Party.
• After the failure of peace talks between the Kurds and the ruling party in 2015, they tended to support opposition parties, notably their support in 2019 for Ekrem Imamoglu in the Istanbul municipal elections against the candidate of the government, Benali Yildirim.
Kurdish support for the opposition coalition has a “bill” represented by coalition pledges to respond to Kurdish demands, many of which had previously been rejected.
Among these demands, as presented by Turkish political analyst, Hisham Gunay, to Sky News Arabia:
• The release of the leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party from prison, led by Selahattin Demirtas and the businessman Osman Kavala.
• Discuss the Kurdish language, which the Kurds seek to make it a second official language.
• Participation in the drafting of the new constitution that the opposition intends to amend if it wins the elections.
• Broaden the concept of citizenship to include all ethnic groups and minorities.
• Reform Turkey’s human rights record and comply with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.
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