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Erdogan’s challenger faces delicate balancing act to win over Turkey's Kurds

The compromise that salvaged Turkey’s opposition bloc from collapsing this week lays the ground for enlisting Kurdish support as well, but not without fragilities and risks on the way.
Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu speaks during a rally, Istanbul, Turkey, May 21, 2022.
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Turkey’s main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu faces the tough task of enlisting crucial Kurdish support for his bid to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan without antagonizing nationalist voters in the diverse opposition bloc that nominated him as a joint candidate in the upcoming elections.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose mainly Kurdish base is seen as a kingmaker in the May polls, has expressed readiness for dialogue with Kilicdaroglu in what is emerging as the opposition’s strongest challenge yet to Erdogan’s two-decade rule. Yet collaboration with the HDP, which risks being outlawed for alleged links to armed Kurdish militants, remains a hot-button issue for the six-party Nation Alliance, which includes nationalists hostile to the HDP.

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