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Turkish Kurds' electoral strategy is a high-wire act

Rumors of electoral collusion between the government and the Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) gain momentum.
Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the HDP, Turkey's leading Kurdish party, addresses his supporters in Diyarbakir October 9, 2014. Islamic State fighters launched a renewed assault on the Syrian city of Kobani on Wednesday night, and at least 21 people were killed in riots in neighbouring Turkey where Kurds rose up against the government for doing nothing to protect their win. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR49I8X
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As Turkey’s controversial president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, mulls plans to boost his executive powers the country’s Kurds have emerged as key players in a high-stakes gamble that could either bolster the country’s shaky democracy or suck it into chaos.

The drama is centered on parliamentary elections to be held June 7. Few doubt that Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has held power since 2002, is headed for a fourth straight electoral victory. But it is unlikely to muster the 376 seats needed to unilaterally rewrite the constitution in ways that would enable the president to tighten his grip. Should Erdogan cling to his ambitions, the AKP will need to turn to another party for its support. And this is where the Kurds enter the picture.

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