Amid growing crackdown, pro-Kurdish party calls for new elections in Turkey

Following initial deliberations about withdrawing from parliament in protest over sustained state pressure, Turkey’s second-largest opposition party called for early elections during a meeting with its constituents Wednesday.

Officials from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) reached the decision after dozens of party members and supporters have been sacked, detained or jailed in recent months. Since the municipal elections in March, 24 of the party’s mayors have been removed from office on terror-related charges and replaced by state-appointed trustees.

In response, party officials released a declaration calling on opposition parties to support its call for early elections “to rescue [the] people of Turkey from the tyranny” of the ruling government alliance between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Alan Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for American Progress, said the move was “a rhetorical reminder” for the government that the HDP remains the leading party in the Kurdish-majority southeast and could get its sacked candidates re-elected in a new vote.

“The HDP statement also can be seen as a warning that the removal of mayors and appointment of kayyums [trustees] will only deepen local resentment of the government,” Makovsky told Al-Monitor. “In reality, as HDP surely knows, there is currently no prospect of early elections. Only the presidency and parliament — the latter requiring a 60% vote under the new executive system — can call for new elections, and Erdogan controls both.”

Read the full story on Al Monitor.