2023 Turkish Elections: The Table of Six and HDP
On September 5, in a television interview, CHP MP Gursel Tekin said that in a government formed by the opposition parties HDP members could be appointed as ministers. His remarks led to Good Party leader Meral Aksener declaring that they will not be at the same table with HDP.
Claims of CHP being close to HDP are not new since last month, HDP allegedly being part of the opposition alliance led to a discussion between CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and a citizen during Kilicdaroglu’s trip to Erzurum, a city in Eastern Turkey. The aforementioned citizen told Kilicdaroglu that HDP is part of CHP’s electoral alliance and told him to stop defending the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Kilicdaroglu replied that the HDP is not part of the alliance and reminded the citizen of the assassination attempt committed by the PKK that he survived back in 2016.
Journalist Rusen Cakir commented on this incident by saying that the government, especially Erdogan falsely accuses the opposition alliance of having HDP as a “secret member” and the opposition alliance in fact comprises seven member parties.
Cakir says that this strategy shows how ”desperate” the government is since they are afraid of HDP voters supporting the opposition. He added that the strategy of the government can backfire since they are normalizing the same HDP they are trying to criminalize since this sentiment implies that HDP is a legitimate political party just like other members of the table of six.
Deniz Zeyrek, in an article that he wrote for Sozcu, said that the HDP is the opposition’s softest spot and the government pushed the opposition to the “HDP corridor.” He said that the government creates an environment to imply that HDP equals PKK, and collaborating with HDP would be collaborating with PKK. This environment holds the Good Party hostage since they do not want to let the nationalist votes go back to MHP.
Zeyrek also said that HDP is the third alliance in Turkey with their 6-7 million votes and they will set the outcome of the Presidential election if the election advances to the second round.
Murat Yetkin, in an article he wrote for Yetkin Report claimed that the government is trying to set a “trap” for the opposition. The trap would try to divide the opposition and divert the Good Party by making it seem like HDP and CHP are close.
Yetkin says that Aksener is an experienced enough politician to realize this, but to calm her voter base, she has to make statements against HDP. Yetkin also emphasizes that neither CHP tries to make HDP join the table of six nor HDP expresses their intention to do so.
Daren Butler and Birsen Altayli, referring to HDP as Turkey’s kingmaker party, say the question of whether HDP and the opposition can agree is vital since they have their best shot yet ever to topple Erdogan. They remind that this cooperation was vital in the 2019 elections when HDP voters supported the opposition mayoral candidates in Istanbul, Ankara, and other cities.
But Saruhan Oluc of HDP said that they would propose their own presidential candidate if they could not agree with the opposition. Oluc added that the HDP is not seeking to join the opposition alliance in the parliamentary elections. And when asked about a possible ministry, Oluc replied that the HDP has not proposed to run a ministry.
Ozer Sencar, founder of Metropoll and a veteran pollster, said on Twitter that it is futile to bring the Good Party and the HDP together in order to be successful in the election. As a solution to this problem, he proposed the opposition go to the elections with a candidate all segments of the society can easily vote for.