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Turkey Elections: Kurds, far-right rally behind Kilicdaroglu ahead of Sunday’s vote

Refuting speculation, Turkey’s largest Kurdish political movement announced it would continue to support the main opposition leader despite his alliance with the far right.
Supporters draped in the flags of the AKP, the Turkish flag and the image of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

ANKARA — In a historic first, Turkey’s far right and the largest Kurdish political movement rallied behind main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a bid to unseat Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but it remains unclear whether Kilicdaroglu can turn the tide against his rival with less than 74 hours to go to until Sunday’s runoff. 

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party announced on Thursday that it would continue to endorse Erdogan’s rival, refuting speculation that the far right’s support for Kilicdaroglu would cost him Kurdish support. 

Following the far right’s unexpected success in the first round of the elections, Kilicdaroglu struck a deal with Umit Ozdag, a far-right politician who has become an emblematic name of the anti-refugee sentiment in the country. The deal involves provisions that can potentially alienate Kurdish voters who solidly supported Kilicdaroglu in the first run. 

Following two-day internal discussions, however, leaders of Turkey’s largest Kurdish political bloc held its nose and reiterated their endorsement for the main opposition leader. Speaking in a press conference, Pervin Buldan, co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), called on the party's supporters to vote for Kilicdaroglu. “We'll head to the polls unabridged and together we'll change this one-man rule,” she said. “Erdogan can never be an option for us. The only option is to change him.”

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