Erdogan: HDP may withdraw its support for Kilicdaroglu
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) may withdraw its support for Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Erdogan's rival in the presidential election runoff on 28 May, or that HDP voters may take a different stance anyway.
His comments followed a recent controversial agreement between Kilicdaroglu and ultra-nationalist Umit Ozdag, which include a pledge to continue implementing a policy of removing elected mayors in cases when there is evidence that the mayor have links with a terrorist organization."
Almost all Kurdish mayors have been removed from their posts under the administration of Erdogan, over spurious "terror" charges.
HDP announced on Thursday that they will continue to support Kilicdaroglu against Erdogan in the runoff.
In an interview in CNN Turk's live broadcast Erdogan said:
"Do not be surprised if HDP withdraws its support. We have received various feedback. And besides, nobody can say that the voter base will think like the leadership."
Claiming that Kilicdaroglu had apparently been subjected to pressures by the HDP for incarcerated former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas to be released, Erdogan first said that Kilicdaroglu is under their thumb, then went on to say that he asked for their support in return for Demirtas's release:
"It looks like Kilicdaroglu was earlier subjected to implied threats by these people at meetings. Well, if you are engaged in negotiations with terrorist groups, they'll get you under their thumb. And he [Kilicdaroglu] said, if you want us to release Selo [Selahattin Demirtas], you'll vote for us."
"Who do you think you are, how can you say something like this after a decision by the judiciary? We are a constitutional state. What they are doing, it's defying the constitution. It's intervention in justice. It shows how Kilicdaroglu has politicized the law."
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas has been imprisoned since November 2016.
Turkey's Court of Cassation overturned in May 2020 a conviction against Demirtas over "terror" charges.
Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled on 9 June 2020 that Demirtas was held in custody for an unjustifiable period of time, and his rights to freedom and security were violated.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in December 2020 that Demirtas's rights were violated, and that Turkish authorities are "to take all necessary measures to secure the applicant's immediate release."