AKP may lose 5 pct of vote if pro-Kurdish party is closed down: pollster

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Professor Özer Sencer, owner of the Ankara-based MetroPOLL, has said Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) may lose 5 percent of the Kurdish vote if the country’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is closed down, Deutsche Welle reported.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Monday accepted an indictment seeking the closure of the HDP, the country’s second largest opposition party. The HDP is accused in the indictment of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU, and of posing a threat to the “indivisible integrity of the state.”

Sencer said 25 percent of Kurdish voters in the country cast ballots for the AKP and that if the HDP is closed down, 5 percent of these voters will withdraw their support from the party.

“If the HDP manages to run in the elections [scheduled for 2023], there will be no loss of support for the party. The HDP may even get votes from people who are against the closure case,” said Sencer.

The HDP received 11.7 percent of the nationwide vote in the June 2018 general elections, while the AKP’s share was 42.5 percent and election ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) garnered 11.1 percent.

According to Sencer, although there is a lot of pressure from the MHP for the closure of the HDP, President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not support the party’s closure.

The MHP has been targeting the HDP with genocidal language. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli once defined the HDP as “poisonous vermin” and has repeatedly called for its closure.

Erdoğan and his ruling AKP as well as the MHP have long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the PKK. The party denies links to PKK and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish problem and is only coming under attack because of its strong opposition to Erdoğan’s 18-year rule.

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