While most political parties in Turkey carry out large-scale election campaigns based on advertisements on television and social media visibility, the country’s pro-Kurdish party has taken a totally different approach, reaching out to all its voters across the country.
The People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which faces the risk of being closed down by Turkey’s constitutional court ahead of the 14 May elections, has fielded its candidates under the Green Left Party list as a precaution, and is running its election campaign with a view to familiarising voters with the new branding.
The election campaign period in Turkey started earlier this month and accelerated significantly after the political parties handed their parliamentary candidate lists to the country’s Supreme Election Board on Monday.
While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have so far opted for focusing on opening ceremonies for public facilities in various parts of the country and large-scale investments in defence, the opposition’s presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has joined forces with the Mayors of Istanbul and Ankara, Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş, who are travelling across the country speaking at rallies. Kılıçdaroğlu is also actively using social media, sharing new videos on Twitter almost every evening to explain to the Turkish public his plans for government policy if he wins the 14 May polls.
However, the HDP, competing as the Green Left Party, has taken a different approach, turning the opening ceremonies of election campaign centres established at district and sometimes neighbourhood level in Turkey’s provinces into small-scale rallies, allowing politicians to reach out directly to voters.
Nearly all the HDP’s opening ceremonies have witnessed the participation of enthusiastic crowds that contribute to the campaign rallies with chanting, songs and dances.
On Saturday alone, HDP politicians opened up election campaign centres in Mardin (Mêrdîn) and Tunceli (Dersim) in eastern Turkey, in Diyarbakır (Amed) and Urfa (Riha) in the southeast, in the southern provinces of Hatay and Mersin, and in İstanbul and İzmir.
In İstanbul, where the Green Left Party is aiming for some two million votes on 14 May, there are plans to open around 250 election centres in 39 districts of Turkey’s most populous province.