Wives of Turkey’s opposition figures meet in show of solidarity

The wives of leaders and officials from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) met in Istanbul on Saturday in a display of solidarity amid what they called increasing polarisation in the country.

The meeting between wife of CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu, wife of Istanbul CHP Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, Dilek İmamoğlu, and wife of jailed HDP former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, Başak Demirtaş, is a response to what the women called ‘’increasing polarisation’’ that is plaguing Turkey, left-wing news site Duvar reported.

Başak Demirtaş said the meeting was important and meaningful in the context of injustices taking place in the country, while Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu, who hosted the event, said that the get together was an effort towards combating discord.

The HDP did not nominate candidates in numerous provinces, including Ankara and Istanbul, in the March 31 polls, which saw the CHP score its biggest victory in decades by winning five of Turkey’s most populous provinces in the polls.

Pundits saw the move as an unofficial alliance between the HDP and the CHP, a party is known for its traditionally nationalist and non-inclusive stance on Kurdish issue.

The cooperation between the CHP and HDP has come under heavy criticism from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which accused the CHP of effectively supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) through the move.

Ankara accuses HDP politicians of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the PKK, an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for over three decades.

"I hope that one day this will be a bigger meeting and that we all get to know each other. I hope that this becomes a reality,’’ Duvar quoted Başak Demirtaş as saying.

Meanwhile, Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu expressed her respect for former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.

Demirtaş has been jailed since Nov. 2016 on a string of terror charges. The former HDP co-chair is seen as the driving force behind the HDP decision to encourage the party's supporters to vote in favour of İmamoğlu in the March 31 election.