The political parties in Turkey are stepping up their election campaign efforts as of Monday, nearly all declaring a busy schedule of mass rallies across the country.
This year’s election campaigns have been less lively compared to previous polls, as political parties refrained from large-scale events while millions in the country continue to mourn the losses of the 6 February earthquakes.
Also slowing down the political party’s election campaign work was the month of Ramadan fasting and subsequent three-day Islamic holiday, Eid al-Fitr.
The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), competing in the 14 May elections under the Green Left Party banner, have preferred to run a grassroots level campaign so far, turning the opening ceremonies of election campaign centres established at district, and sometimes neighbourhood level, in Turkey’s provinces into small-scale rallies.
From Monday on, the Green Left Party will launch a new phase of their election campaign with 65 mass rallies expected before 13 May.
The mass rallies will start in Hakkari (Colemêrg) and Silopi (Girkê Amo) district of Şırnak (Şırnex) in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey on 24 April.
The Green Left Party election campaign will end on 13 May with mass rallies in Istanbul and the Kurdish-majority Diyarbakır (Amed), the stronghold of the Kurdish freedom movement.
The pro-Kurdish party will compete only for parliamentary seats on 14 May, as it chose not to field a presidential candidate, a move which many see as implicit support for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the presidential candidate of the six-party opposition bloc.
Co-chair Pervin Buldan earlier this month said that HDP would openly declare their support for a presidential candidate when the party begins election rallies.
The pro-government daily Sabah claimed that the HDP will officially announce its support to Kılıçdaroğlu on Monday.
Turkey’s pro-government party and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in recent weeks have been displaying the HDP’s election strategy as a proof of Kılıçdaroğlu’s cooperation with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The votes of Turkey’s Kurdish voters will be critical for the presidential election as surveys conducted by pollsters indicate a possible neck-to-neck race between Kılıçdaroğlu and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In March Erdoğan announced that the AKP would run a low profile election campaign given the devastation caused by the earthquakes in southern Turkey.
However, AKP announced last week that Erdoğan will also have a busy schedule from 24 April, with mass election rallies organised in 40 provinces.