Find the latest breaking news and information on the top stories, science, business, entertainment, politics, and more.

Turkey’s HDP ‘may support’ Kilicdaroglu in presidential polls

Pro-Kurdish party leader Sancar says the HDP could support the opposition’s presidential candidate if they agreed on “fundamental principles.”

The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) says it may support opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in this year’s presidential election after “clear, open talks”.

“Our clear expectation is a transition to a strong democracy. If we can agree on the fundamental principles, maybe we can support him in presidential elections,” fellow party leader Mithat Sancar said on Monday.

Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP), emerged on Monday as the main challenger to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of elections expected to take place on May 14 after a six-party alliance selected him as his candidate.

The 74-year-old wants to oust Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for two decades – first as prime minister and since 2014 as president.

The HDP, Turkey’s third largest party in the 2018 elections after the CHP, is not part of the opposition alliance.

However, in 2019, its mostly Kurdish supporters helped the alliance – of which it was then a part – win mayoral elections in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities.

Kilicdaroglu leads the country’s second largest party, the CHP (Alp Eren Kaya/Republican People’s Party/Handout via Reuters)

Sancar had called on the opposition to unite on Saturday, a day after the alliance splintered over who would run for president before a consensus was reached on Monday.

Polls suggest that Kilicdaroglu’s Nation Alliance needs the support of HDP voters to defeat Erdogan and gain a majority in parliament against his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and its ultra-nationalist ally, the Nationalist Actions Party.

For years, the HDP has faced a crackdown from the AK Party government and a possible ban over alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed Kurdish group, which it denies.

In January, her bank accounts were frozen by a court, cutting her financial lifeline for the upcoming election.

The PKK, designated a “terrorist group” by Ankara and its NATO allies, has been fighting the Turkish state in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984, killing more than 40,000 people.