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Kurdish party says will continue supporting opposition in Sunday vote despite Öcalan letter

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The Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Friday announced that their strategy to support the opposition in Sunday’s İstanbul mayoral election has not changed after a call by the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to the party to remain “impartial,” the Diken news website reported.

HDP Co-chairs Sezai Temelli and Pervin Buldan held a press conference on Friday in Ankara after Abdullah Öcalan’s letter making the call was revealed by a Kurdish academic on Thursday evening,.

Öcalan’s lawyers also on Friday admitted that Öcalan wrote the letter.

However, the HDP leaders said Öcalan’s comments concern the offer of a third way to Kurds in their struggle for freedoms and democracy in Turkey, not about everyday politics and elections.

The HDP previously decided to lend support to the opposition’s İstanbul mayoral candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, who was nominated by the Nation Alliance of the secular center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the right-wing nationalist İYİ (Good) Party.

The HDP called the alliance against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “democratic forces.”

Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former co-chair of the HDP, earlier this week called on the Kurdish electorate to vote for İmamoğlu.

President Erdoğan said there is a struggle for leadership in the Kurdish movement, which has three factions; the HDP, Öcalan and PKK terrorists based in northern Iraq.

To many observers, the Kurdish vote in İstanbul is the kingmaker.

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