As Turkey’s critical elections on 14 May approaches, the country’s pro-government outlets have intensified efforts to link the Nation Alliance of six opposition parties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
As the latest example of such efforts, the pro-government outlets claimed on Saturday that the six opposition parties made their decisions on their parliamentary candidate lists upon orders from commanders in the PKK headquarters in Qandil in northern Iraq.
The new election rules in Turkey designed by the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have overcomplicated Turkey’s political parties’ decisions on how to field their candidates for 14 May elections.
Political parties which form election alliances can compete in elections either under a joint list or under separate lists. In 2018 elections, the parties benefited from votes casted in favour of their partners in the alliance even if they had fielded candidates in separate lists. However, according to the new election law, being in an alliance only helps passing the seven percent threshold required for a party to enter the parliament if parties enter elections under separate lists.
As a result, parties in different alliances have been engaged in heated negotiations over the last weeks to decide whether to field their candidates under joint lists or compete separately. In most cases, political parties prefer to field their candidates in their own lists in order to protect their institutional identities, however, the election rules have pushed them to do otherwise.
On Friday, four parties of the Nation Alliance agreed to field their parliamentary candidates under the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) list in order to maximise the seats expected to be won on 14 May.
The pro-government outlets in Turkey told their readers that the Nation Alliance followed the suggestions of Mustafa Karasu, the PKK’s deputy chairman, when making this decision.
In an interview with Medya Haber on 4 April, Karasu said that a struggle against a fascist regime required the largest possible coalition between all opposition groups despite ideological differences.
“This government should go. This is not only the problem of the socialists and the Kurdish people. It is the problem of all people of Turkey,” he said.
Karasu said that all political parties should seek to get the most effective result in elections.
“A joint list will get more seats, everybody says that,” Karasu said. “What is important is to assure more representation,” he added.
However, despite the reports in the pro-government media, Karasu was not talking about the Nation Alliance, but was mentioning the debates within the Labour and Freedom Alliance led by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The left-wing alliance has also been discussing the best strategy for elections, as the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) decision to compete in elections under separate list prompted heated debates on social media, with mainly Kurdish voters pointing out that such a strategy will result in losing potential parliamentary seats.