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Kurdish party co-chair says will continue supporting opposition candidate in İstanbul

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Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) party co-chair Sezai Temelli on Tuesday signaled that the party would continue its support for the opposition’s mayoral candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, after Turkey’s election board canceled the March 31 election results and announced a new election in İstanbul, the Diken news website reported.

For the local elections, the HDP did not officially participate in the Nation Alliance, consisting of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party but refrained from nominating candidates in big cities such as İstanbul to support the opposition candidate against the ruling party.

After lawyers were allowed to visit Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group, for the first time since 2011, some opposition pundits claimed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been trying to lure Kurdish support with possible peace talks with the PKK.

“We didn’t have any negotiations [with the ruling party]. We will do what we did [during the local elections],” Temelli said at his party’s parliamentary group meeting.

HDP deputy Garo Paylan tweeted on Tuesday that they would “keep fighting against the fascists, be in solidarity with the democrats.”

Meanwhile President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said there would be no revitalization of peace negotiations with the PKK.

The Turkish government and the terrorist group had peace talks in between 2011 and 2015; however, they ended after the HDP entered parliament, surpassing the 10 percent election threshold in June 2015 and putting an end to the AKP’s one-party rule since 2002.

Before Turkey held new elections in November 2015 following a deadlock in forming a coalition in parliament, President Erdoğan announced the end of peace talks, citing the PKK’s attacks on security forces in the Southeast.

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