Peoples’ Democratic Party in Turkey: We won’t field a presidential election candidate

ANKARA — On Wednesday, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi, HDP) and its allies stated that they won’t field a candidate to run in the country’s May 14 presidential election, a step that could boost an opposition bloc’s chances of unseating President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Speaking at a news conference, Pervin Buldan did not openly say whether her alliance would support opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, after they had met on Monday, according to Reuters.

The HDP wants the opposition to support the rights of the Kurds and other minorities, as well as other issues. The HDP held talks with Kılıçdaroğlu last Monday, and it is expected to announce this week whether it will support him or not.

Law professor at Dicle University in Omid (Diyarbakir) Vahab Coşkun stated that, “The HDP voters will not find it difficult to vote for Kılıçdaroğlu, due to his recent efforts to build bridges with both Kurdish and conservative voters.”

Erdoğan is facing the biggest challenge to his rule in his more than two decades of leading Turkey. Recent polls show him trailing Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of the opposition alliance of six parties.

Dozens of elected HDP lawmakers and mayors, including former HDP Co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ and thousands of HDP members have been arrested on terror-related accusations.

The HDP is the third-biggest party in parliament with more than 10% support nationwide and is seen playing a decisive role in the presidential election on May 14.