The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey recently announced that it will not field a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections on May 14, a significant move that could impact the political landscape and future of the nation.

Giran Ozcan, executive director of Kurdish Peace Institute and former HDP Representative to the United States, shed light on the party’s decision and its implications in an exclusive interview with ALL ARAB NEWS.

Instead of fielding its own candidate, the HDP made a decision to support the opposition candidate.

“The HDP didn’t get any promises on solving the Kurdish issue from the opposition parties, but rather it is taking a principle stance against the current government that has done nothing else rather than cause bloodshed, oppression and suppression of the Kurds over the last six years,” Ozcan explained.

He explained that the government’s mistreatment of Kurds – which makes up approximately 18% of Turkey’s total population of nearly 85 million – was particularly due to its alliance with the ultra-nationalist Turkish Parties.

The opposition instead formed a table of six to run a joint candidate to will oppose the current Turkish presidency, Ozcan said.

Convincing Kurdish voters to cast their ballots in favor of the opposition candidate, especially the Republican People’s Party (CHP), may prove challenging, Ozcan said, especially given the historical mistrust between Kurds and opposition parties on the Kurdish issue. In addition, many Kurds view the CHP no different than the current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“I do not think the HDP will have a hard time convincing its supporters and voters to direct their votes to the CHP candidate. The HDP base is very politicized that has specific requirements and demands over the political system and the solution of the Kurdish issue is the primary motivation for this base,” Ozcan said.

He also believes their vote could possibly result in unseating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, thus marking a potential shift in the Turkish political landscape.

The upcoming election in June is expected to be a significant contest, as it is the first time that Turkish citizens will vote for both their president and Members of parliament on the same day, with a total of 600 seats in the Grand National Assembly up for grabs.

The HDP, a key player in Turkish politics since its formation in 2012, has faced significant challenges in recent years, with its leaders and members being arrested and imprisoned on terrorism charges. Despite this, the party has remained committed to its platform of promoting Kurdish rights and autonomy in Turkey.

The CHP has a long history in Turkish politics, having been established in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. The party has traditionally been associated with secularism and Kemalism, a political ideology that emphasizes modernization and westernization.

Erdoğan, the incumbent president (AKP) has been in power since 2014 and is expected to run for re-election. His political career began in the 1990s, when he was a prominent figure in his party before becoming the prime minister in 2003. Since becoming president, Erdoğan has implemented a series of controversial policies, including the purging of government officials, the imprisonment of journalists and activists and the crackdown on opposition parties.

It is worth noting that the Turkish political landscape has changed significantly in recent years, with the rise of new parties such as the nationalist Good Party (IYI) and the Islamist Felicity Party (SP). These parties are likely to play a significant role in the upcoming election, as well potentially siphoning votes away from the AKP and the CHP.

With the emergence of new political alliances and several new political players, it remains to be seen who will emerge victorious and what sort of impact it will have on Turkish politics and the future of the nation moving forward.

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