No pro-Kurdish candidate for the Turkish presidential election. The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Turkey's third-largest political force, said on Wednesday (March 22nd) that it would not present a candidate for the presidential election on May 14th, a decision interpreted as tacit support for the candidate of the opposition alliance who will challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"We will not present a candidate in the next presidential election," HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan told a news conference. "Turkey needs reconciliation, not conflict," Buldan said.

The HDP, whose 2018 presidential candidate finished third with 8.4% of the votes cast, is seen as the kingmaker of the May election that polls predict will be contested.


The pro-Kurdish party, itself allied with micro-parties of the left and far left, was kept away from the opposition coalition, which brings together six political parties, because of the presence of the Good Party (nationalist).

Less than eight weeks before the presidential election, the HDP's announcement is seen as likely to weaken the chances of re-election of President Erdogan, who has remained in power for twenty years by taking advantage of opposition divisions.

The head of state must also face the consequences of the devastating earthquake of 6 February that killed more than 50,000 people in the country.

The candidate of the opposition alliance, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, head of the CHP (Republican People's Party, social democratic), had multiplied contacts with HDP cadres in recent months.

The "Kurdish problem"

On Monday he met with his two co-presidents, Mithat Sancar and Pervin Buldan, pledging after their meeting to solve the "Kurdish problem" once elected.

Kemal Kiliçdaroglu notably denounced the "discrimination" against the Kurdish language in Turkey, as well as the replacement in the Kurdish-majority south-east of the country of dozens of HDP mayors by administrators appointed by the government.

The HDP is accused by the Turkish government of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group described as "terrorist" by Ankara and its Western allies, and is under threat of prohibition for "terrorism".

Selahattin Demirtas, its figurehead, has himself been imprisoned since the end of 2016 for "terrorist propaganda".

With AFP

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