Turkey’s Kurdish party at the threshold
By A.Kadir Yildirim May 26 at 3:00 PM
Turkey’s voters head to the polls June 7 in a critical test of the future of the country’s democratic system. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seems to be on course to win a fourth consecutive victory though, if polls are to be believed, without a supermajority in the parliament. What makes this election different from others in Turkish history is the critical role of a Kurdish party contesting elections for the first time, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The traditional leading opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has long positioned itself as the bulwark of secularism in Turkish politics, with an electoral ceiling of roughly 20 to 25 percent. Previous Kurdish parties have solely focused on Kurdish ethnic identity and long-standing grievances and have routinely been banned by Turkish courts, with independents rarely winning more than 5 percent.
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