Turkey’s ruling party trying to suppress the Kurdish vote in June 24 polls - HDP co-chair


The co-chair of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party said on Tuesday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party was doing its utmost to ensure her opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) does not get the 10 percent of the national vote it needs to take up seats in parliament in June 24 elections, the secular Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

With 11 of its members of parliament and thousands of its activists jailed as part of a wide-ranging government crackdown on dissent, the HDP, which received more 13 percent of the vote in 2015 general elections, runs the risk of falling short of Turkey’s 10 percent election threshold.

Erdoğan’s conservative Islamist party, which traditionally comes second in the mainly Kurdish southeast, would likely gain an extra 30 seats if the HDP did not overcome the threshold, one of the highest in the world.

“The June 24 elections will determine our fate. It will change the fate of the peoples of Turkey. That is why they fear us,” HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said.

She said Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power since 2002, feared the charismatic former HDP leader, Selahattin Demirtas, who is standing for president in the polls from his cell in a top security prison where he is being held while facing trial on multiple terrorism-related charges.

“They fear Demirtaş and the fear the HDP. They are keeping Demirtaş hostage because they fear him,” Buldan told an election rally in the Aegean province of Manisa.

As well as imprisoning Demirtas, Buldan accused the AKP of moving polling stations away from Kurdish-populated areas so as to suppress the HDP vote.