Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has revealed talks with other opposition parties on finding a common candidate that could potentially end President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 20-year presence in power. Senior HDP lawmaker Saruhan Oluç has confirmed that the HDP, which has roughly 12 percent of the country’s support, is set to name its presidential candidate if discussions with a separate opposition alliance fail.
The HDP, which played a key role in previous elections, is not among the six parties that make up Turkey’s opposition bloc, the Nation Alliance. Earlier this year, the alliance signed a statement abolishing the executive presidential system and restoring the rule of law under a parliamentary system, Reuters reported.
The news agency added in its report that the bloc has not yet announced a presidential candidate for the elections scheduled for June next year. Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party said that he is ready to run in the presidential elections scheduled for 2023 against Erdogan. Oluç said: “The needs and dynamics are completely different,” referring to the cooperation of the Peoples’ Democratic Party in the 2019 local elections, which allowed the opposition to achieve victories against the Justice and Development Party candidates for the mayoral presidency in Istanbul, Ankara, and other cities.
Erdogan’s Popularity Crumbles
The International News Agency said in its report that the Democratic People’s Party, the third largest party in the Turkish parliament, is not looking to join the main opposition coalition on voting for members of parliament, while it was looking to agree on a single rival for Erdogan. According to Oluç, the identity of the presidential candidate is less important than the opposition’s approval of politics. “Building a strong local and national democracy, ensuring a neutral and independent judiciary, the rule of law, and finding a democratic solution for the Kurds are necessary measures,” he said, adding that Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) face the collapse of their popularity against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, as inflation reached its highest level in more than two decades before the 2023 elections. Analysts said the opposition needed to accept a role for the HDP in the electoral process, setting aside nationalist agendas if they wanted to succeed in defeating Erdogan. Reuters quoted Ozer Sinkar, head of the Metropol polling center, as saying: “If the (opposition) Umma Alliance does not have strong support, it will not be able to proceed with decisions without the HDP.”