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seduce the nationalists, the risky bet of Kemal Kiliçdaroglu

D-2 before the second round of Sunday’s presidential election in Turkey. Outgoing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the big favourite. His rival Kemal Kiliçdaroglu tried during the campaign between the two rounds to seduce the most nationalist voters. This strategy involves risks, particularly vis-à-vis the Kurdish voters of Kemal Kiliçdaroglu.

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With our correspondent in Istanbul, Anne Andlauer

Before the first round, the opposition believed that the support of the voters of the pro-Kurdish party HDP was one of the keys to the victory of Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, so the HDP called to vote for him. And the opponent has indeed achieved record scores in the Kurdish majority regions of the south-east, but that was not enough.

So, for this second round, he is looking to catch up on Recep Tayyip Erdogan by making foot appeals to Turkish nationalists. In particular to the 5.2% of voters who gave their vote to Sinan Ogan, the third candidate.

Seduce the nationalists and lose the Kurds?

Sinan Ogan called for a vote for Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but the Victory Party (ZP), which had carried his candidacy, now supports Kemal Kiliçdaroglu. However, to obtain this support, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu had to sign an agreement which approves – with all the same important nuances – a policy of the current power which consists in replacing by administrators the mayors accused of links with terrorism. And that concerns almost all HDP mayors today.

Even if the pro-Kurdish party renewed its support for Kemal Kiliçdaroglu on Thursday, May 25, the question is therefore to know to what extent these voters will follow him and especially in what proportions they will go to the polls on Sunday, given the low chances of victoire. Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, who was more than 2.5 million votes behind Tayyip Erdogan in the first round, cannot afford to lose voters.

Read also : Presidential election in Turkey: a few days before the second round, Kiliçdaroglu mobilizes at all costs

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