8.3 C
Frankfurt am Main

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party fields candidates for İstanbul mayor

Must read

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) on Friday named Meral Danış Beştaş and Murat Çepni as its co-candidates for mayor of the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality after the wife of the party’s jailed former leader said she won’t run in the election.

The DEM Party’s decision reflects its tradition of naming a man and a woman as co-chairs of top posts and represents a departure from the strategy used in the 2019 local elections, when the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the predecessor of the DEM Party, did not field a candidate and instead supported Ekrem İmamoğlu, who managed to end the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) longstanding rule in İstanbul with significant Kurdish voter support.

The candidates were announced after Başak Demirtaş, the wife of the HDP’s jailed former leader Selahattin Demirtaş, announced that she would not file an application to run as a mayoral candidate for İstanbul.

The prospects of Demirtaş’s candidacy for İstanbul came to public attention last month when she told the Artı Gerçek news website in an interview that she was considering a run.

Analysts viewed her as a strong candidate who would most likely take votes away from current mayor İmamoğlu, who won the city from the AKP as the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate.

Selahattin Demirtaş received almost 10 percent of the vote when he challenged President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the 2014 and 2018 presidential elections in Turkey.

He was convicted of spreading “terrorist propaganda” in 2016 and sentenced to 142 years in prison.

He ran his second election campaign from prison.

In January President Erdoğan tasked former environment minister Murat Kurum, 47, with winning back İstanbul.

The lack of critical support from Kurdish voters this time is likely to reduce İmamoğlu’s chances of claiming another victory against the AKP candidate.

İmamoğlu has been convicted of insulting a public official and could be forced to resign should the ruling be upheld.

Although their party was not included in an opposition bloc of six parties, Kurds also supported the candidacy of former CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in the May presidential election, which ended with Kılıçdaroğlu’s defeat.

A secret deal made by Kılıçdaroğlu with a far-right party leader during the campaign that included pledges against Kurds led to resentment among Kurds when it came to public attention after the election, leading many of them to question their support for the party.
Kurds say they do not see sufficient support from the CHP for their demands regarding the expansion of their rights in return for their support for the party’s candidates in critical elections.

Demirtaş criticizes political cynicism over wife’s election decision

Selahattin Demirtaş has defended his wife Başak Demirtaş against criticism of her over her previous intention to run as mayoral candidate for İstanbul.

In a statement posted on X, Selahattin Demirtaş criticized the pervasive skepticism and cynicism in Turkish politics, lamenting that political maneuvering often overshadows genuine efforts for democracy and peace.

He argued that the suspicion of ulterior motives behind every political move damages the potential for sincere political engagement to improve society.

Demiraş also pointed to allegations of dialog between the DEM Party and the ruling AKP, stating that he doesn’t know if this exists, but said the lack of it would not be healthy and that such communication is crucial for addressing the country’s challenges. He emphasized that it was legitimate and responsible to engage in discussions with all political parties to solve national and social problems and called for more frequent exchanges between the DEM Party and the opposition CHP.

In response to accusations that his wife had struck a deal with Erdoğan to withdraw support from the incumbent mayor of İstanbul in return for his release, the jailed party leader denied such allegations and emphasized the principled stance of the DEM Party and its commitment to democracy and peace.

Başak Demirtaş’s decision not to run was made jointly with the DEM Party.

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
More News
Latest News