Kilicdaroglu visits HDP in the National Assembly
A much awaited meeting between Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the opposition’s joint presidential candidate in Turkey, and the co-chairs of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar, started on Monday at the Turkish National Assembly.
The meeting was initially planned for March 18 but was postponed by the HDP. After the meeting, Kilicdaroglu and the co-chairs are expected to hold a press conference in the parliamentary group management meeting hall.
The meeting is considered to be a crucial one, as it could potentially lead to the HDP's support for Kilicdaroglu in the upcoming presidential election.
Kilicdaroglu, as the candidate of the Nation Alliance, made of six opposition parties, is hoping to gain the support of the HDP, which is seen seen as a kingmaker with a voter base of six million (around 11% to 13% of the popular vote in the last three parliamentary elections.)
Polls in Turkey suggest that neither the sitting president Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor Kilicdaroglu are likely to receive over 50% of the votes in the first round of the elections, and Kilicdaroglu needs the backing of HDP in order to avoid a runoff.
It is constantly criminalized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), its far right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and government media, who spuriously claim that the party is steered by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), designated a "terrorist group" by Ankara.
Similar accusations against HDP are voiced by the nationalist Good Party, part of the Nation Alliance, although its officials have recently made clear that they will not object to Kilicdaroglu having a dialogue with HDP officials.
HDP is also at a critical juncture as it is facing a closure case in the Constitutional Court, which rejected an application for the postponement of its decision till after the elections, and may issue a ban both on the party and on hundreds of its senior officials days to the elections.