Turkey’s Labour and Freedom Alliance will not field a candidate in the 14 May presidential elections, the alliance of left-wing political parties announced on Wednesday.
The alliance will fulfil its historic responsibility against the one-man regime in the country, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-Chair Pervin Buldan told reporters at a press conference she and co-Chair Mithat Sancar, Green Left Party spokesperson İbrahim Akın and representatives of other parties in the alliance held together.
“Before the earthquakes we declared that we would run our own candidate, but with the changing circumstances, we revised our decision in discussion with our allies,” Buldan said, referring to the earthquakes of 6 February that affected some 13 million people in the country, razing several cities in the Kurdish-majority southeast of Turkey to the ground.
The alliance said its press statement that the May elections would determine Turkey’s future, pointing to “the great destruction” caused by the two decades in power of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Polls show that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP do not currently have the required 50-percent-plus-one vote necessary to elect the new president, and the alliance not fielding its own candidate could tip the scales enough for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to defeat the incumbent president.
Kılıçdaroğlu is the leader of Turkey’s main opposition, the centre-left secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), and will challenge Erdoğan as the joint candidate of the Table of Six, an alliance formed by six of Turkey’s opposition parties including breakaways from the AKP and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The AKP’s economic and social policies have “created great destruction in all areas of life”, the allies said. “Their practices restricting freedoms based on oppression and unlawfulness have known no bounds.”
“The AKP/MHP government has stolen society’s today and threatens its tomorrow,” they said.
The left-wing alliance says that Turkey’s most fundamental need is a real and strong democracy, based on sovereignty of the people. “We want an order in which universal rights and freedoms are recognised and constitutionally guaranteed, democratic legal principles prevail, and social and economic rights come to life. It is not possible to achieve these goals without a strong local democracy in which mechanisms for local participation function,” they said.
Another key point in the alliance’s programme is the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, from which Turkey withdrew in 2021 by order of President Erdoğan. The alliance promises to return to the Convention, which is a key document for women’s rights.
“We will never allow women to be ignored. We are the guarantee of a future in which women will be equal and free in all areas of life. We are the strongest advocate for women having a voice and direct agency in politics under the principle of equal representation,” they said.
The alliance is “determined to hold to account those responsible for great destruction, and the government that has maintained a rule based on poverty, corruption, plunder and unearned income”.