Turkey's upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections are contested by two major alliances and some other less weighty and influential alliances. However, outside the framework of alliances remain some parties and figures that can have a direct influence on the outcome of the elections, foremost among them the HDP.

Peoples Democratic

Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is widely seen as the political front of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist organization, or at least as having a close relationship with it. The party is the newest political entity of the leftist Kurdish movement usually associated with Kurdistan, and this impression of it is reinforced by many statements and positions in support of or in support of Kurdistan and/or its detained leader in Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan, as well as accusing a number of municipalities headed by the party of supporting terrorism and altering the municipalities' capabilities for this purpose.

Unlike its predecessors, the HDP, founded in 2012 by the merger of several leftist and Kurdish parties, presented itself in the June 2015 elections as a "party for all of Turkey" and abandoned exclusive (Kurdish) nationalist politics. But he later returned to political practice for something of the sort, especially after the collapse of the settlement process between the Turkish state and the PKK, of which he was also a part.

In the last parliamentary elections, the party received 11.7% of the vote, becoming the third bloc in parliament, and opinion polls suggest that it will not be too far from that percentage in the next election. In light of the great polarization in the country, and the convergence of the results of the two main alliances and the inability of either of them so far to exceed 50% according to most opinion polls, the democratic peoples see themselves as the egg of the captain that can tip the balance in the upcoming elections.

In 2022, a case was filed before the Constitutional Court to ban the party on the grounds of supporting terrorism and its relationship with Kurdistan, which has not yet been issued. In August, the HDP founded the Alliance for Action and Freedom with a number of left-wing parties with less political presence, and in January announced its intention to field its own candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, apparently in response to the case against him. We mentioned in a previous article here that this announcement is a political message to confirm the presence and legitimacy on the one hand and pressure on the opposition People's Alliance to cooperate with it on the other.

After him an opposition party and his strained relationship with Erdogan and the AKP, the party was expected to support the candidate of the opposition People's Alliance. Some of its leaders have issued previous statements favoring one candidate over another, and it became clear over time that he supported the candidacy of CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who was later declared a consensus candidate for the opposition alliance.

After announcing his candidacy, Kılıçdaroğlu confirmed that he would visit the HDP, among other parties, and then met with the party's leadership at the headquarters of his parliamentary bloc under the dome of the parliament. He also spoke in a joint press conference with them about the need to solve the "Kurdish problem" and about freedoms and rights, and the rejection of banning political parties and appointing guardians of municipalities, in what he understood to be the conclusion of his dialogue with the party.


Two days after the meeting, the HDP and the Alliance for Action and Freedom announced that they would not present a presidential candidate, implicitly understood as support for Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy, although the announcement did not include a clear reference to this direction. That is, the party will run in the parliamentary elections with its own candidates and lists and under the name of the Green Left Party (apparently in anticipation of a decision to ban it), while in the presidential elections the decision will later direct its voters towards a specific candidate, who is expected to be Kılıçdaroğlu.

This decision seems contrary to the traditions of the party, which has always sought to present its own candidate, even nominating in 2018 its former president, Selahattin Demirtas, who is detained in connection with cases related to supporting terrorism. However, for the aforementioned reasons and detail, this decision did not seem shocking in these elections, in which alliances are the most prominent and important factor.

In theory, the opposition candidate Kılıçdaroğlu received great support that maximizes his chances in the next election, as he included - without an official announcement - a seventh party in the six-party whose presence in the electoral scene may be stronger than the second party in it (Al-Jaid) and certainly better than the total of the other four parties except the Republican People.

In practice, however, this is not settled, and if it were, the support would have been made public and official.

On the one hand, the HDP has not made a clear official decision towards Kılıçdaroğlu or directed its constituents to vote for it. Even if he does, he does not guarantee that everyone will vote for him, as it is the custom of the democratic people's base, or the so-called "Kurdish voter", to vote for his party's candidates and not for others.

On the other hand, this tacit support will be a strong card in Erdogan's hand throughout the election campaign, as it is understood from Kılıçdaroğlu's statements when he met with the leadership of the HDP, and the latter's decision only two days after the meeting, that an understanding, even in principle, has been concluded, and Erdogan will seek with all his strength to show it as an understanding of the presidential candidate with a "party linked to terrorism" or to make concessions to it.

On the third hand, and perhaps most importantly, this support may have a negative reaction among the allies of the Republican people, especially the Good Party, which is known for its negative stance towards the democratic peoples. Party leader Meral Aksener has previously warned that the latter cannot be included in the six-party table or presented to her demands, although she did not mind Kılıçdaroğlu meeting with him.

Moreover, one of the leaders of the Good Party and a member of its administrative body, Yavuz Ali Agaroglu, came out at a press conference after the People's Democratic Declaration, in which he sharply criticized the opposition candidate and said that he had "set a trap" for his party in the six-party table of which he was one of the founders, rejecting "imposing the candidacy of Kılıçdaroğlu" and what he called "making honorable state positions bargaining places for separatists," and stressing that "we will not be in the place shaded by terrorism."

Although the Good Party has not issued any statement or statement regarding the words of this leader as of this writing, and although the latter stressed that what he said expresses his position is not the position of his party, but his words reflect a segment of the cadres and rules of his party, and it is not possible to say with certainty the extent to which his opinion coincides with a number of its leaders.

Therefore, although Kılıçdaroğlu received the democratic support of the people implicitly in order not to arouse the sensitivity of nationalists, especially the Good Party, to secure the votes of both sides, this is not guaranteed and even difficult. Thus, the opposition candidate may have sacrificed seemingly guaranteed support from the Good Party in exchange for unguaranteed support from the democratic peoples.

This means that Kılıçdaroğlu's chances of winning the presidential elections from the first round, as he claims, now seem very slim, especially with the continued candidacy of former Republican People's Party leader and candidate of the Balad Party, Muharrem Ince, who will deprive the latter of some points due to their intellectual, political and ideological similarities.

This announcement may even have enhanced the chances of the Turkish President (Erdogan) to resolve the presidential elections in its first round, as well as the run-off round, if it occurs, by re-rallying some segments around him given the expansion of the opposition coalition on the one hand and its candidate's association with supporting the democratic peoples accused of supporting terrorism on the other.

What happened, with its potential implications, is further evidence of the dynamism of the Turkish elections and that what the country's political meeting imposes makes the outcome of the ballot far from direct mathematical calculations.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the HDP has weight in the upcoming electoral battle, especially the parliamentary elections, but in the presidential elections, it is difficult to say with certainty that it will favor the opposition candidate, Kılıçdaroğlu, and may even backfire. Therefore, democratic peoples may indeed be the egg of the captain in the balance of the presidential elections, but on the side of Erdogan and not the other way around.