Turkey's ruling parties continue pressure against opposition ahead of 2023 elections: HDP
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) blamed the alliance between Turkey's far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for pressure against the opposition ahead of the country's June 2023 general elections.
"As parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey get closer, the AKP-MHP alliance is increasing its pressure on the opposition in an attempt to ensure its own survival," said Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy, co-spokespersons of the HDP's Foreign Affairs Commission, in a statement.
"While arrests, court cases, and physical attacks against the HDP continue, other government opponents are also threatened by government-controlled state bodies, especially by the judiciary," they added.
On May 12, 2022, Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals approved a prison sentence of four years and 11 months for Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the İstanbul Provincial Chair of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).
“Kaftancıoğlu was head of the CHP in İstanbul when they ousted the AKP in the mayoral elections of 2019,” the HDP said.
"Approval of the prison sentences against Kaftancıoğlu should be seen as another crackdown on government opposition ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections," it added.
"The government, which persistently fails to implement the European Court of Human Rights judgements for the immediate release of Selahattin Demirtaş and Osman Kavala, is taking an increasingly reckless stance against the opposition, by means of its control over the judiciary."
"We believe that government pressure on their opponents will increase as we get closer to the elections. And, so long as the international community remains silent, this repression will become even more brutal," the HDP spokespersons said.
"We thus call on all democratic international communities and institutions to raise their voices and take action against the repression of its opponents by the Turkish government."
The Turkish judicial authorities recently also launched a wave of arrests against HDP members and activists.
Some of them were also charged with "being a member of a terrorist organization."
The HDP said it is part of Turkey's ultimate aim of closing the party.
During the March 2019 municipal elections in Turkey, the HDP, in a gesture with the CHP, did not field candidates in cities west of Turkey with sizable Kurdish populations, namely Istanbul, where the party has over one million votes, the capital Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Mersin, and Antalya.
That move helped the CHP win in most of these cities from the AKP as part of an uneasy de facto alliance. However, it's far from clear if this de-facto alliance will continue in the future and if the opposition will be able to unite in the future and gain enough votes to challenge the ruling AKP-MHP alliance.