Kurdish parties lend conditional support to CHP’s vote proposals

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Turkey’s two pro-Kurdish parties ‘are ready’ to lend support to the main opposition party’s candidate in the second round if he provides assurances on democracy and freedom

Two pro-Kurdish parties have indicated that they would consider supporting the presidential candidate of the main opposition party in the second round of polls if this nominee is someone who can provide assurances on democracy, freedom and the Kurdish question.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), continued his consultations with political parties yesterday over finding a joint opposition presidential candidate for the August election, meeting the co-chairpersons of the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), Sebahat Tuncel and Ertuğrul Kürkçü, and the co-leader of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Selahattin Demirtaş. These two parties, which are mainly focused on the Kurdish issue, will play a key role in the election, commanding a vote capacity of around seven percent.

According to information gathered by daily Hürriyet, the representatives from the HDP and the BDP signaled that they would consider lending support to the CHP’s candidate in the second leg of elections if the nominee was someone known for their positive approached on democracy, freedoms and the Kurdish issue. The representatives reportedly underlined that the policies currently pursued by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on these issues were not in line with their criteria.

However, they also urged Kılıçdaroğlu that the CHP should exert efforts to break possible anti-Kurdish grassroots prejudice.

‘Run in the first round with own candidates’

“We’ll run for the first leg of elections with our own candidate. But we have also discussed that we would have an option in the event that the CHP would appoint someone with the same values as us,” said Kürkçü in a joint press conference with Kılıçdaroğlu after the meeting.

For his part, the CHP leader said they would do their best in appointing a candidate sensitive on issues concerning the democratization of Turkey, gender equality and democracy in general. “We want democracy, we want freedoms and we want gender equality. One of the fundamental qualifications we are seeking in the next president is that he or she should set an example to the people with his or her speeches, attitudes and politeness,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

During the meeting, HDP and BDP representatives recalled the March 30 local elections and reiterated their criticisms of the CHP’s decision to name Mustafa Sarıgül as its candidate for Istanbul. “We visited you but could not get an answer. If we could have agreed on a common candidate we would surely have won Istanbul. The consensus to be found in Istanbul would also have had repercussions in our cities,” Tuncel and Kürkçü reportedly said at the meeting.

Kılıçdaroğlu and Demirtaş have also discussed the crisis that recently developed after a teenager took down the Turkish flag at a military base last week. Demirtaş told Kılıçdaroğlu that lowering the Turkish flag was an “unacceptable provocation.” “We are carrying out our own investigation and we’ll make it public soon,” he said.

They also discussed the state of the ongoing Kurdish peace process, and Kılıçdaroğlu said he would support the process if he was in power with “methodological changes.”

“You know that we have some objections about the methodology. But I can openly tell you that the process will continue under an CHP government with methodological changes. The process is not under the monopoly of anybody. Continuity is essential in state affairs,” he said.

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