Kurdish parties offer presidential candidacy proposal to CHP lawmaker and former judge
Okan Konuralp ANKARA - Hürriyet
Will Türmen be easy on the ears of Kurds and other leftists, who are generally uncomfortable with the CHP's stance on the Kurdish issue?Still searching for a candidate for the upcoming August presidential elections, the two Kurdish sister parties at the Turkish Parliament have continued the trend of political cross-dressing, by making a surprising offer to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and former European Court of Human Rights judge, Rıza Türmen.
With the unexpected offer, both the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) unexpectedly shifted their attention to the social-democratic constituency of the CHP’s voter base, after the CHP announced Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu, the former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as its joint presidential candidate with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in an attempt to woo conservative votes.
Türmen responded that he would “think about the offer” and is expected to give HDP and BDP officials an answer in the shortest delay.
Rumors had circulated that both parties would join behind the candidacy of BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş for the first round of the election, though Demirtaş reportedly said he had yet to decide on whether to run. Leftist lawyer Eşber Yağmurdereli has also figured among potential HDP/BDP candidates, and if Yağmurdereli is ultimately announced, he will be the first visually impaired name in Turkey’s history to vie for a top political position.
Although both parties have not altogether ruled out supporting İhsanoğlu in a possible second round of the presidential elections, HDP co-chair Erturğrul Kürkçü has criticized his nomination as an attempt “to get U.S. approval.”
“Selecting Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu is like showing Hacıvat as a candidate in front of Karagöz,” said Kürkçü, in reference to the famous Ottoman shadow theater characters known for their complicity-filled arguments, stressing the similarity between İhsanoğlu and any potential candidate from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan looks set to become the AKP’s official candidate, but the party has said it will only confirm its candidate at the end of June.
The next president will be the first to be elected by popular vote, though no constitutional changes have yet been passed to formally transfer more powers to the head of the state.