Kurds wary of Kilicdaroglu's alliance with far-right politician ahead of Turkey vote

Kurds wary of Kilicdaroglu's alliance with far-right politician ahead of Turkey vote
2 min read
27 May, 2023
Kemal Kilicdaroglu has gained the support of far-right anti-immigrant politician Umit Ozdag, and his campaign has taken an alarmingly anti-refugee tone in recent weeks. 
Kilicdaroglu is the presidential candidate of the Nation Alliance [Getty]

The surprising alliance between Turkish presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu and far-right anti-immigrant politician Umit Ozdag has generated resentment among Turkey’s Kurds, according to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed

Kilicdaroglu, the head of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the presidential candidate of the Nation Alliance, took a markedly anti-refugee tone over the last few weeks.

Ever since he came second in the first round of voting on 14 May, his campaign has since sought the votes of the far-right ahead of Sunday’s runoff election against incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Despite this, the opposition Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) continued to support Kilicdaroglu’s alliance ahead of Sunday’s showdown. 

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, HDP co-leader Pervin Buldan re-asserted their support for the challenger, saying the election was not between Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu, but instead a referendum on an “unjust regime”.

The HDP-led Labour and Freedom Alliance won 10 percent of the vote in the 14 May parliamentary elections, a percentage Kilicdaroglu cannot do without to win. 



Kurds make up around 14 percent of Turkey’s electorate, and will play a crucial role if the Nation Alliance was to prevail on Sunday. 

President Erdogan took a hard line against Kurds during his two decades in power, and even launched a military incursion against Kurdish groups in northern Syria. 

He received 49.5 percent of the votes in the first round of voting, while Kilicdaroglu garnered 44.9 percent. Neither could breach the 50 percent mark, which forced the election into a runoff this Sunday.