The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) parliamentary group leader Meral Danış Beştaş said on Saturday that in the matter of a joint presidential candidate for the forthcoming elections, the potential candidates’ attitude towards racism and the Kurdish issue in particular served as a litmus test, and that on that basis the party has a strong objection to just one of the names put forward.
When evaluating potential candidates, the party prioritises principles over names, Danış Beştaş said during a radio interview, talking about the polls, currently scheduled for June, though they will probably be held in May.
“The approach to the Kurdish issue is one of the litmus tests. Like being against racism. Everybody needs to break the mould on this issue. We need to come to terms with the past. We need to accept that Kurds, like everybody else, own this country and are equal citizens,” Artı Gerçek quoted her as saying.
The senior party official added that women’s rights and ecological issues were also among their priorities.
“To date, we have objected to only one name, that of Mansur Yavaş,” Danış Beştaş said, referring to the mayor of the Turkish capital of Ankara, who is from a right wing nationalist background. “HDP voters will never lean towards him as a candidate. For us, he is not in the equation,” she continued.
Yavaş is has acheived some popularity among opposition voters as a successful mayor, but his political tendencies generally remain cloaked as he seldom speaks up on controversial issues.
The six-party opposition alliance, led by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the centre-right Good Party (İYİ), announced on Friday that they would start discussing the name of the potential candidate next week.
The HDP is not a part of this opposition alliance, known as the “table of six”, but will play a vital role in the presidential elections as any candidate to be nominated by the alliance will need the support of the Kurdish voters to be able to declare victory.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and İstanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu are also popular names among opposition voters.