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Turkey’s nationalist İYİ Party rules out alliance with pro-Kurdish HDP

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Leader of the nationalist İYİ (Good) Party Meral Akşener has ruled out a possible alliance with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), saying her party would not sit at the same table as the HDP, the Habertürk daily reported.

The İYİ Party is part of the “Table of Six,” a group of six opposition parties that are expected to field a presidential candidate against the incumbent president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in the presidential election slated for 2023. The HDP is not among the group.

“We will not sit around a table where the HDP is sitting. And HDP will not sit around a table where we are,” Akşener said at a meeting of her party, dismissing the prospects of any alliance with the HDP.

Akşener’s comments came in response to a recent statement from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Gürsel Tekin, who said if his party comes to power, it may allow the HDP to appoint a minister from their ranks.

“Of course, the HDP might be granted a ministry. Any party can …” said Tekin, when asked about the prospects of a minister from the HDP, the second-largest opposition party in parliament.

The CHP is also part of the “Table of the Six” and has been an election ally of the İYİ Party since 2018.

The HDP played a crucial role in the victory of the CHP mayoral candidate in İstanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, to win against the candidate of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the local elections of 2019.

Pundits say it is very unlikely for the presidential candidate of the “Table of Six” to win against Erdoğan if they continue to exclude the HDP from their alliance.

In addition to the AKP and its ultranationalist election partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the İYİ Party also accuses the HDP of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK, recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.

The HDP, which denies any links to the PKK, also repeatedly criticizes the CHP and its ally, İYİ, for their stance on Kurds’ rights and efforts to distance themselves from the pro-Kurdish party amid a crackdown on its members that accelerated after 2016.

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