Turkish opposition wants Kurds onside in election battle against Erdogan

Turkey’s main opposition party is seeking a commitment from the country’s largest pro-Kurdish party to back a single challenger to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at presidential elections.

“The HDP and left-wing parties are pursuing an alliance for parliamentary elections,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said in an interview with Birgun newspaper on Thursday, referring to the pro-Kurdish party. “It would be more appropriate to put forward a joint candidate for the presidential elections.”
The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has the support of about 10 percent of voters in Turkey. Its endorsement of a single candidate could help Kilicdaroglu and his six-party Nation Alliance defeat Erdogan at the elections, which must be called for next June at the latest.
Presidential elections in Turkey are held over two rounds should no candidate win a majority in the first round of voting.
Erdogan announced his candidacy as head of the People’s Alliance last month. The Nation Alliance is yet to declare a candidate.
Kilicdaroglu has said he will run against Erdogan should his political allies support him. He said now was not the time to decide on who will challenge the president.
“We must first set out what we are going to do and how we are going to do it,” he said of meetings aimed at formulating joint policies to be implemented post-election.
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