Turkey’s newest opposition parties are organising in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast in a bid to win voters disillusioned by the ruling Justice and Development Party or who have lost hope in the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Deutsche Welle Turkish said, citing experts and officials.
The parties are vying for supporters in provinces like HDP’s stronghold Diyarbakır, where 46 of 65 HDP municipalities have been taken over by state-appointed officials and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) maintains a rooted voter base, DW said.
DEVA and the Future Party were both launched over the past seven months by former AKP heavyweights who have fallen out with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
DEVA was launched in March by Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister credited with successfully steering Turkey’s economy during AKP’s first decade in power. Babacan presents his new party as liberal democratic and pro-Western.
Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu founded the Future Party in December, focusing on the AKP’s poor management of the economy in recent years, and accuses the ruling party of smothering press freedom, practicing nepotism and holding back minority rights.
Babacan’s DEVA party “sparks excitement for the middle and urban class that traditionally vote for the HDP and AKP”, Rawest polling company head Roj Girasun told Deutsche Welle.
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu’s Future Party “could influence the conservative voters in the region”, he said.
Both parties will shape their policies around two bases to gain voters that traditionally vote for the AKP or the HDP – equal citizenship and education in the Kurdish language – Girasun said.
“The alternative (conservative parties) can notably alter AKP’s support. If these parties emerge with a consistent, democratic and solution-oriented narrative, then they could pose an alternative to voters who have a tormented relationship with the HDP,” Dicle Üniversity law professor Vahap Coşkun told Deutsche Welle.
DEVA and the Future Party have appointed legal professionals as their regional chairmen in Diyarbakır.
The Future Party’s newly appointed Diyarbakır Chair Aydın Altaç maintains that Kurdish should be the language of education in the region, a move he believes should be supported by the state.
DEVA meanwhile is looking for votes from both the AKP and the CHP in Diyarbakır as neither party has “anything left to offer the people of the region”, DEVA’s founding chairman in Diyarbakır Cihan Ülsen said.