Kurdish votes will be kingmakers in Istanbul mayoral race - pollster

The votes of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) will play a pivotal role in the rerun of the mayoral election in Istanbul according to a public opinion poll published by Konsensus polling company, news site T24 reported on Sunday.

The ruling party's Istanbul mayoral candidate Binali Yıldırım and the main opposition's candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu are head to head in polls and Kurdish votes will be the kingmakers, the head of Konsensus consulting firm Murat Sarı said.

İmamoğlu, the mayoral candidate of the Republican People’s Party, won the Istanbul mayoral race in Turkey’s financial powerhouse, defeating the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Yıldırım with 13,729 votes according to official results announced after 17 days of recounting. Upon an appeal by the AKP citing irregularities, Turkey’s top electoral board annulled the Istanbul election and rescheduled a rerun on June 23.

For the local elections on March 31, the HDP, which draws most of its support from the country’s Kurds, supported İmamoğlu even if the party was left out of the coalition formed by opposition parties. 

"So now when we look, 200,000 (votes) in this election makes 2 percent of the votes, that is, the one who gets that 200,000 will win the election," Sarı said.