The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is facing possible closure before elections slated for May 14, has decided to compete under the banner of the Green Left Party (YSP), the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Tuesday, citing officials from the HDP.
Turkey’s top prosecutor filed a case against the HDP, the second-largest opposition party in the Turkish Parliament, in March 2021, accusing it of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
The party, which denies any links to the PKK, describes the case as politically motivated.
It is not yet known if the HDP will be able to participate in parliamentary elections on May 14, when a presidential election will also be held. If the Constitutional Court, which is expected to conclude the case before the elections, rules to dissolve the party, its candidates will not be able to run in the elections under the HDP banner.
The HDP officials on Tuesday told Artı Gerçek that they had decided to enter the race under the banner of the YSP, which recently made it onto the list of 36 political parties qualified to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections so as not to risk a possible shutdown shortly before the elections.
According to Artı Gerçek, the party’s decision has been finalized and will be made official during its Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Wednesday. The HDP will reportedly use the YSP logo in Newroz celebrations on March 21 to ensure the visibility of the party.
In the past when pro-Kurdish parties faced similar threats, they either fielded independent candidates or ran under the banner of other parties.
Turkey’s political history is filled with pro-Kurdish parties that were shut down on terrorism charges. Every time a party was closed, another one was established in short order.
The HDP is widely seen as the kingmaker in the presidential election on May 14 that could end the two-decade rule of current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is seeking re-election.