Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that he will visit the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) during his presidential campaign.
“I will definitely visit the HDP. As a presidential candidate, as someone who claims to be the president of all of Turkey, of 85 million, it is a requirement of democracy for me to visit all parties. What's wrong with visiting the HDP? We work with HDP deputies in parliamentary commissions. There is nothing more natural than visiting HDP,” Kılıçdaroğlu told Fikret Bila from Halk TV.
Turkey’s six-party opposition alliance announced Kılıçdaroğlu as its joint candidate to run against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the upcoming election.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks came after the fresh row between nationalist opposition Good (İYİ) Party and the HDP.
On March 6, HDP co-leader Mithat Sancar said that his party might support Kılıçdaroğlu on May 14 presidential election after “clear, open talks.”
“The CHP can meet with the HDP, but can never bring it to the table (opposition bloc),” İYİ Party leader Akşener told journalist Fatih Altaylı on broadcaster Habertürk on March 7.
Akşener also ruled out the possibility of the HDP being given ministerial positions in exchange for the party’s support for Kılıçdaroğlu.
Responding to Akşener, jailed former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş on March 8 said "I am sure that you do not see HDP voters as second-class citizens. In that case, how can there be any harm in the HDP's negotiation with the presidential candidate it will vote for?"
"Do you want my vote as an HDP voter? How do you intend to convince me, since you will be vice president? By the way, I would like to remind you that you didn't say ‘I don't want’ the HDP votes that paved the way for the mayors of the Nation Alliance to win in the (2019) local elections. Although HDP did not want a ministry, some of your friends marginalized us by saying ‘We will not give ministry to HDP.’ Now, if these friends of yours are candidates to be ministers with the votes of HDP voters, don't you need to convince us? Do you see demands for democratization as concessions?" Demirtaş asked Akşener.
İYİ Parti Genel Başkanı Sayın Meral Akşener'e açık mektubum. pic.twitter.com/Pft295UtnT— Selahattin Demirtaş (@hdpdemirtas) March 8, 2023
Moreover, Demirtaş told Ruşen Çakır from Medyascope that "If Kılıçdaroğlu meets with the political and social opposition and gets the support of everyone, he will become the joint candidate not only of the Nation Alliance, but of the entire people. Of course, he is expected to demonstrate how he approaches democratic demands by conducting an open negotiation with the HDP. Because HDP supporters do not want to hesitantly vote for Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, and nothing like that will happen anyway."
"From now on, the goal is to ensure that Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu is the joint candidate of all of Turkey. If this is achieved, social polarization will also decrease, and the hope for peace and coexistence will increase. I believe this will be succeeded," he added.