Mainly Kurdish HDP to support CHP's mayoral candidate in Turkey’s Izmir

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will support the main opposition Republican People’s Party's (CHP) Izmir mayoral candidate, Tunç Soyer, in the local elections on March 31, U.S. government-funded Voice of America (VOA) reported on Thursday.

The HDP announced last week it would not name mayoral candidates for seven major cities, Istanbul, Ankara, the western city of Izmir, the southeastern cities of Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa, and the southern cities of Adana and Mersin.

The pro-Kurdish party hopes that the move will grant the main opposition candidates enough votes to capture some of Turkey’s largest cities which could be a massive political wound for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"Within the scope of our party's election strategy, HDP Izmir headquarters announced that it is not putting up candidates for mayor of Izmir. While doing that, we got advice from marginalised groups and people who say no to one-man dictatorship. We will support Tunç Soyer for Izmir metropolitan mayor candidacy," HDP's Izmir co-chair Kadir Baydur said in the interview with VOA.

However, the HDP has been excluded from the election coalition between the CHP and the nationalist Good Party due to frictions between Turkish nationalists and representatives of the Kurdish political movement. Thus, HDP's support for opposition candidates doesn't render an official alliance.

The HDP will not run an official campaign for Soyer. Instead, it will hold public meetings, go to neighbourhoods and explain to them why HDP supports Tunç Soyer, according to Baydur.

Turkey will hold nationwide elections to choose local representatives for the country’s cities and districts on March 31. Turks will elect more than 20,000 officials, including mayors to city and district councils, including 30 large metropolitan areas.

Erdoğan’s AKP won 42.9 percent of the vote and 18 of 30 metropolitan municipalities in the last election on March 30, 2014. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) finished second with 26.3 percent support and six councils.