In Vote Setback for Erdogan, Türkiye's Pro-Kurdish HDP Will Not Field Candidate

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference after a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Türkiye, 21 March 2023. (EPA)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference after a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Türkiye, 21 March 2023. (EPA)
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In Vote Setback for Erdogan, Türkiye's Pro-Kurdish HDP Will Not Field Candidate

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference after a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Türkiye, 21 March 2023. (EPA)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference after a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Türkiye, 21 March 2023. (EPA)

Türkiye's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and its allies will not field a presidential candidate in May, its co-leader said on Wednesday, raising the prospect of the opposition uniting against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's re-election bid.

Speaking at a news conference, Pervin Buldan did not openly say whether her alliance would support opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, after they had met on Monday.

Former HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in jail since 2016 over what the party says are political reasons, has previously voiced support for Kilicdaroglu, who is the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

The HDP is the third-biggest party in parliament with more than 10% support nationwide and is seen playing a decisive role in the presidential election on May 14.

"In the presidential elections, we will carry out our responsibility against the one-man rule," Buldan said, adding that they will work to instate basic rights and justice in Türkiye. "For these reasons, we are sharing with the public that we will not field a candidate in presidential elections."

Erdogan is facing the biggest challenge to his rule in his more than two decades of leading Türkiye. Recent polls show him trailing Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of the opposition alliance of six parties.

But the HDP votes will be crucial for the opposition to secure a majority in parliament in the vote on the same day and exceed the 50% required to elect the president.

In 2019, the HDP cooperated with the opposition to defeat the ruling AK Party's mayoral candidates in major cities, including Ankara and Istanbul.

The HDP has faced a crackdown since the collapse in 2015 of Ankara's peace process with the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), designated a terrorist group by Türkiye and its Western allies.

Thousands of HDP members, lawmakers and mayors have been jailed or stripped of their positions in recent years over alleged links to terrorism, which the party denies.



Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)

Iran's supreme court has overturned Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi's death sentence on charges linked to the country's 2022-23 period of unrest, his lawyer wrote in a post on the X social media platform on Saturday.

"The death sentence of #Toomaj_Salehi was overturned and based on the appeal decision ...of the Supreme Court, the case will be referred to (another) branch for consideration," attorney Amir Raisian wrote on X.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the ruling.

Salehi's songs supported protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an "improper" hijab.