Turkish opposition leaders congratulate Kurdish party on anniversary

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leaders congratulated the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) on the party's eighth anniversary that fell on Sunday, Diken news website reported.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the CHP's leader, and Ekrem Imamoğlu, who became a figurehead for Turkey's political opposition by winning an election for Istanbul mayor last year, lauded the HDP's struggle for democracy in Turkey. 

"In these days, when our longing for justice is increasing, I wish you success in your work in which you will contribute to the democracy in our country and congratulate you for the anniversary of your founding," Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The HDP, Turkey’s third-biggest political party by popular vote whose base is largely Kurdish, won 65 municipalities in local elections in 2019. Eighteen months later, it controls just seven small towns because its mayors have been dismissed on terrorism charges and replaced by government-appointed officials. The mayors deny the allegations.

The votes of hundreds of thousands of Kurds living in Istanbul were widely acknowledged as pivotal to the outcome of the March 31 mayoral election and a re-run three months later, which saw Imamoğlu declared the winner by a narrow margin. The HDP did not put up its own candidate and called on Kurds to back Imamoğlu to hand Erdoğan’s ruling party a defeat. 

"I would like to once again thank all of your party members who showed their will for democracy against injustice on our journey towards a more just and equal Istanbul," Imamoğlu said. “On this occasion, I underline once again that we will never stop fostering peace and equality and send my sincere greetings and love to all participants.”