HDP promises 'Kurdish slap' to Erdogan's AKP as snap elections mulled

A right-wing alliance led by President Erdogan hopes to remain in power.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bekir Bozdag on Tuesday announced the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would soon take calls from its far-right allies for snap elections into consideration, adding to months-long speculations.

The suggestion to hold parliamentary and presidential elections earlier than the scheduled November 2019 date came from President and AKP’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ally from the junior opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chair Devlet Bahceli.

“We will take this call into account. Authorized [AKP] committees will evaluate this,” Bozdag told reporters in Ankara, according to state media.

Shortly after remarks from government officials, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-leader Pervin Buldan expressed readiness for elections and even gave assurances of a defeat for the right-wing AKP-MHP alliance during a weekly convention of her lawmakers.

“Get ready to taste the Kurdish slap in the elections. You will receive a slap that will make you forget the songs you were singing on the road to Afrin,” Buldan said.

Her words appeared to be in response to a statement in February by Erdogan whose army was staging an assault on the US-armed Kurdish forces in Syrian Kurdistan’s Afrin.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) shakes hands with Devlet Bahceli, the leader of opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 1, 2017. (Photo: Associated Press)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) shakes hands with Devlet Bahceli, the leader of opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 1, 2017. (Photo: Associated Press)

Erdogan had threatened US Army generals with an “Ottoman slap” if they did not withdraw along with the Kurds from the town of Manbij in northern Syria liberated two years ago from the Islamic State.

“Bahceli proposes that elections take place on Aug. 26. Let nobody view this as a statement by Bahceli himself,” the left-wing leader said, alleging that Erdogan was behind the motive so as not to contradict with a recent announcement ruling out snap elections.

“It is time to oust AKP,” Buldan said.

In June 2015, the HDP under the leadership of the now-imprisoned charismatic lawyer and politician Selahattin Demirtas was the party that for the first time since 2002 denied the AKP from forming a single-party government by passing the 10 percent-high threshold.

That, however, did not last long.

Having failed to form a coalition, Erdogan called for snap elections only four months later amid a dramatic collapse of two years-held peace talks with Kurdish rebels, a process that brought him back to uncontested power.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) similarly voiced preparedness.

“Bring it on. We, the CHP, are always ready for elections,” the secularist party’s deputy and spokesperson Bulent Tezcan told a press conference at the Parliament.

Accusing the Erdogan administration of being “a one-man regime,” he called on voters to change it through the ballot box.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany