ISTANBUL (Rahnuma): Pro-Kurdish political leaders accused Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday of trying to sow discord among Kurds ahead of a re-run of an Istanbul election on Sunday that is seen as a crucial test of support for Erdogan and his ruling AK Party.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) also reaffirmed its support for opposition mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu who won the March municipal poll. Election authorities ordered a re-run after AKP allegations of poll irregularities, a ruling that has prompted concerns about Turkish democracy.
In an unexpected and ambiguously worded statement, Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan called for “neutrality” in the Istanbul vote, in comments that could be understood as suggesting Kurds not take part.
Kurdish support was key in helping Imamoglu narrowly defeat the AKP mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim in the March vote. Kurdish voters account for about 15 percent of Istanbul’s 10.5 million eligible voters and many support the HDP.