BDP eyes forming alliance with main oppositon CHP in Turkish local elections

BDP eyes forming alliance with main oppositon CHP in Turkish local elections

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
BDP eyes forming alliance with main oppositon CHP in Turkish local elections

BDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder is expected to join the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) when it is formed. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The People’s Democratic Party (HDP), an umbrella party the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is contemplating backing before the March 2014 elections, is seeking to establish an alliance with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to yield better results in the western provinces.

Should the CHP demonstrate a positive approach toward an open alliance of this kind, common campaigns for the upcoming local elections would be made public, sources confirmed, speaking with Hürriyet Daily News.

On the other hand, if the CHP approved of the idea yet preferred to keep it a secret, the HDP would nominate “ineffective” candidates while conveying a message of “Support the CHP!” to its electorate. In return, in certain regions, the CHP would take the same approach toward HDP candidates.

As the HDP will hold a congress on Oct. 27, the BDP is expected to back the HDP with four of its deputies, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Sabahat Tuncel, Erol Dora and Ertuğrul Kürkçü. Independent deputy Levent Tüzel is also expected to join the HDP. The deputies will join the HDP either at, or following the congress.

Deputies who are expected to join the HDP are also resigning from their posts on parliamentary commissions. Önder has resigned from his membership in the Constitution Conciliation Commission, Tuncel from the Gender Equality Commission and Kürkçü from the Human Rights Commission. The BDP is expected to appoint new names to each of these commissions.

Thus, having begun to be represented in the Parliament, the HDP will begin its endeavors with common candidates with the CHP. The move is interpreted as being due to the BDP’s strained ties with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) throughout the peace process.

Executives from the CHP, approached by the Daily News, declined to comment on the validity of such claims. “Even the new party mentioned [HDP] is not formed yet and there is no approach from the BDP, nor a proposal conveyed. The issue will be handled by related bodies of the party when and if such a proposal is conveyed,” executives told the Daily News.

A key goal of the HDP is to initiate cooperation in Istanbul, especially in districts with significant Kurdish population. For instance, the HDP is expected to nominate a weak candidate for the Beyoğlu district, to point toward the CHP’s candidate, as other socialist parties will be called upon for support. Yet, if the reconciliation efforts fail, the BDP will nominate its deputy with the highest chance, Sırrı Sürreyya Önder, for Istanbul.

The idea of entering the elections under the HDP is known to be an idea voiced by the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, when BDP officials visited him. The BDP has been discussing the proposal at length, as co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has allegedly objected it. Entering elections under the HDP is a move to minimize the reaction, or even an allergy in the western parts of the country, against the BDP, via more comprehensively including the left-wing candidates.

The BDP will nominate candidates for the local elections in the east and southeastern parts of Turkey, where most of its votes usually come from, while the HDP will enter the election in Istanbul and other western cities. Should the party turn out successful the BDP will be fully disrupted from becoming a part of HDP.