“HDP is not the one avoiding a joint candidate, but the six-party bloc”

“HDP is not the one avoiding a joint candidate, but the six-party bloc”
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Demirtas said HDP’s candidate will be Turkey’s 13th president

Turkey’s imprisoned politician Selahattin Demirtas said Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is not the one avoiding a joint candidate to run against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the upcoming elections, but the six-party opposition bloc.

"Within the last year and a half, HDP has made at least hundreds of calls to the bloc to discuss and agree on principles. But unfortunately, it has not received a single official response. The components of the six-party alliance that hold official talks with various parties, even with the parties of small sects, play three monkeys when it comes to HDP. We perceive this approach as marginalization and insult,” Demirtas said.

“HDP never avoided a joint candidate, and it still does not. It is the six-party bloc that is avoiding it,” Demirtas told journalist Sirin Payzin from Halk Tv on Monday.

“How an opposition that hesitates or does not even condescend to talk to the third largest party of the Turkish parliament can bring democracy to this country?” he asked.

Turkey is facing presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June this year at the latest, arguably one of the most critical polls in the country’s history. Erdogan, supported by his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) governing ally far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will run for another term for presidency in the elections. Six opposition parties, including the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) who teamed up to restore a parliamentary system in Turkey, are also working to put forward a joint candidate to run against Erdogan. HDP who earlier said it is open to negotiations with the six other opposition parties over the idea of supporting a joint candidate, on Saturday announced that it will nominate its own candidate to run against Erdogan in the first round of upcoming elections and the name of the candidate will be declared soon.

Demirtas also called on to the leaders of the six opposition parties to pay a solidarity visit to the HDP that is facing a closure threat.

“You should visit the HDP and not hesitate to show your solidarity in the name of democracy. HDP headquarters will welcome all its guests with respect and great hospitality. This alone can create a basis for dialogue, negotiation and cooperation,” he said.

In response to a question whether Demirtas himself would be HDP’s presidential candidate, the party’s imprisoned former co-Chair said the discussions over the name of the candidate are still going on.

“Our candidate will be decided as a result of these discussions. Let me say that our candidate will be Turkey’s 13th President,” Demirtas said.

Turkey's Constitutional Court on Thursday has ruled to temporarily block HDP’s Treasury aid accounts, which will mean a major blow to the party ahead of this year’s elections. Pro-Kurdish party with 56 deputies in the parliament is also facing a closure case including a ban for 451 politicians and party members from organized political activity or membership of political parties for a period of five years and forfeiture of the party’s assets.