The opposition’s joint candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu could end President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 21-year reign in Turkey’s critical elections, with open support from the pro-Kurdish voting bloc.
Sixteen days before the elections, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have announced their support for Kılıçdaroğlu, while the Turkish interior minister called the elections a “political coup attempt”.
*Updated at 10:45 pm (CET)
Observers report attempts at electoral fraud in Turkish consulates in Germany.
As citizens of Turkey living abroad have been voting in the national elections since Thursday, observers from the opposition parties have already begun to report some vote manipulation efforts, Erkan Pehlivan from Frankfurter Rundschau reported.
Journalist Deniz Babir from Medya Haber reported that supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were caught on Thursday attempting to cast multiple ballots by observers from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Green Left Party in Frankfurt and Cologne.
The voting observers reported that they intervened and recorded the incidents. A Green Left Party observer confirmed that three AKP supporters tried to vote twice. The observer also said that a chairman of a ballot box had urged an elderly woman to vote for the AKP.
Left-wing opposition bloc supports Kılıçdaroğlu in presidential elections
The Labour and Freedom Alliance, Turkey’s second-largest opposition bloc after the Nation Alliance, announced in a written statement that they would support Kılıçdaroğlu in the presidential elections.
The left-wing alliance that was formed by the HDP said that the country was heading towards the most important election in its history under the conditions of multiple political, social and economic crises. “We have agreed to fulfil our historic duty at this turning point in Turkish politics as part of our debt both to our tradition and to future generations,” concluded the bloc and urged voters to support the Labour and Freedom Alliance in the parliamentary elections and Kılıçdaroğlu in the presidential elections.
Green Left Party, HDP condemn wave of arrests
Green Left Party provincial co-spokespersons and HDP provincial co-chairs condemned the Diyarbakır (Amed) based arrest wave that started on Tuesday.
Arguing that most of those detained were people working for election security and that the operations were designed by the AKP government to undermine the electoral process, the politicians said, “These operations will not save them. No matter what they do, they will not win. On 14 May, we will hold them to account.”
HDP goals coincide with Kılıçdaroğlu ‘to end one-man regime’: Co-chair Sancar
HDP Co-chair Mithat Sancar announced the pro-Kurdish party’s support for Kılıçdaroğlu, the joint presidential candidate for Turkey’s opposition.
“On one side there is the candidate for the People’s Alliance, which wants to make the regime permanent. On the other side, there is Kılıçdaroğlu, who promises to change the regime. Our goals coincide at ending this one-man regime,” Sancar told journalist İsmail Saymaz.
While the HDP believes a Kılıçdaroğlu presidency “will be a step towards democracy and the rule of law”, the party does not view it as the be-all and end-all. “We believe we are the principal actor to ensure a democratic transformation,” Sancar said.
HDP announced its decision to not field a candidate of its own weeks ago but had not specified which candidate it would lend its support to. Co-chair Pervin Buldan had said in late March that HDP voters “know they will vote for the most democratic candidate, and who that candidate is”.
“Our fundamental expectation is that (Kılıçdaroğlu) ends the one-man regime and takes responsiblity to pave the way towards peace,” Sancar said. “Our decision is a political one, there have been no negotiations (for bureaucratic or cabinet cadres).”
Interior minister calls elections “political coup attempt”
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that the elections are “a political coup attempt by the West, that is formed by bringing together all of the preparations to liquidate Turkey on 14 May” and compared it to the failed military coup on 15 July 2016.
Soylu emphasised that the upcoming elections would not be an easy process and called on the AKP supporters to “put all they have on the line”.
Bar association ready for ballot box security
İzmir Bar Association announced that it is ready to ensure ballot box security on election day. The association assigned a lawyer to each school to monitor the process.
Erdoğan cancels public appearances
President Erdoğan cancelled Friday’s public appearances, after he fell ill during a live broadcast on Tuesday evening.
According to the daily program announced on the official website of the presidency, Erdoğan will attend a rally in the southern province of Adana online today via a live connection from the presidential palace.
Opposition bloc’s office attacked
Attacks targeting the election offices of political parties and alliances continue since Turkey’s election process began. The election coordination centre of the Nation Alliance, Turkey’s main opposition bloc, in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul was attacked with stones at night.
Previously, two CHP offices, a branch office of the centre-right Good Party (İYİP) and an office of the Green Left Party, through which the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will run in the crucial national elections, have been targets of similar attacks.
Sancar urges citizens abroad to vote
HDP Co-chair Mithat Sancar called on voters who live abroad to go to the polls. “Every vote we will cast will ensure that we will be represented in the parliament at a higher rate and that we will get rid of this oppressive one-man regime,” Sancar said on Thursday.
Citizens of Turkey living abroad began voting on Thursday. The external voting will end on 9 May.