The days are numbered until the arrival of the June 7th elections in Turkey — as are the remaining days that the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) has to secure support from 10% of the Turkish population. If the HDP fails to secure 10% of the national vote, they will not be given any seats in the Turkish parliament.
To rally support, the HDP has been looking towards the traditional Kurdish areas of Turkey, and reaching out to the numerous Kurdish tribes in Turkey. As a result, members of these Kurdish tribes, who tend to vote en masse, are swinging their support from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the pro-Kurdish HDP.
Finding Support From Kurdish Tribes in Turkey
With less than two weeks to go before the election, the HDP has seen a large swell of support from Kurds across the eastern part of the country. Reports show that over 30,000 Kurds from the Kurdish region of Turkey have swung their support from the AKP to the HDP.
This shift has been most significant in the cities and towns of eastern Turkey, where many Kurdish tribes have been meeting with HDP representatives. The Raman and Alphanlar tribes in Batman, and the Kiroyi tribe in Siirt, all announced their support for the HDP.
The Kurdish tribes in Turkey tend to vote in blocks — so the support of the tribes can be massively influential in the outcome of an election. The Raman tribe alone boasts over 20,000 voters.
In Baksdale, in the Van province, the AKP’s entire district management resigned and joined the HDP. In Adiyaman province, 12,000 members of the Turanli tribe switched allegiance to the HDP, when a member of their tribe, a Kurd and one of the co-founders of the AKP, decided to run on the HDP ticket.
Although these numbers are relatively small when compared to the population of Turkey (74 million), they represent a traditional base of AKP supporters, who are now turning to the HDP for leadership in the future.
Future of Kurdish Politics in Turkey
Without 10% of the national vote, the HDP will not be given any parliamentary seats, and the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) will likely be in a position to secure the majority of parliament’s seats – 330 of 550 are necessary to clinch.
If the HDP secures 10% of the national vote, they will be given representation in the Turkish parliament, and thereby be in a better position to represent Kurds and other minority parties, encourage the democratic process in Turkey and galvanize the PKK-Ankara peace process.[Read more at Al-Monitor]