In a bid to circumvent the risks that could emerge from its possible closure ahead of the elections on May 14, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has announced that it will run in the elections under the banner of the Green Left Party (YSP), a party co-chairperson has announced.
HDP co-Chairperson Mithat Sancar announced in televised remarks on Thursday his party’s decision to run under the banner of the YSP, saying that past experience with the closure of pro-Kurdish parties has led to that solution.
The HDP is facing a closure case on terrorism charges that was filed in March 2021 and could be concluded before the elections since the Constitutional Court, which is hearing the case, has rejected the HDP’s request to delay the verdict until after the elections.
Sancar said Turkey is heading toward the most critical election in its recent history so it is important not to leave the party’s voters without an alternative if the HDP is closed down by the top court.
In the past, when pro-Kurdish parties faced similar threats, they either fielded independent candidates or ran under the banner of other parties.
Meanwhile, former HDP co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been jailed on bogus terrorism charges since 2016, through his lawyers endorsed the YSP on Twitter on Thursday.
Arkadaşlar, Yeşil Sol Parti bizden 100 istiyor, ne diyorsunuz?
100 verecek miyiz? 🙂
Meclis'teki yeni 100'ümüz Yeşil Sol Parti, #hedef100vekil. pic.twitter.com/zfgEkTmfSz
— Selahattin Demirtaş (@hdpdemirtas) March 23, 2023
Demirtaş called on HDP supporters to enable the YSP to win 100 seats in parliament.
The HDP, the third largest party in the current parliament, has 56 seats out of a total of 579.
Many say the May 14 elections will determine Turkey’s direction, either into an autocracy under the one-man rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, or to its former flawed but still more democratic system of governance.
In order to end Erdoğan’s 20-year rule, an opposition bloc of six parties fielded main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as their joint candidate in the presidential election.
Another alliance of left-wing parties, which includes the HDP, announced on Wednesday that they will not be fielding their own candidate, which was interpreted as tacit support for Kılıçdaroğlu.
The HDP is widely seen as a kingmaker in the elections.
The party, which is accused of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), describes the closure case as politically motivated and denies any links to the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
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 YSP, a green and left-libertarian party, was established in November 2012 under the name of Party of Greens and the Left Future. The party, which changed its name in 2016, recently made it onto the list of 36 political parties qualified to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections.