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Turkey elections: Pro-Kurdish party puts pressure on Erdogan

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By Euronews
Turkey elections: Pro-Kurdish party puts pressure on Erdogan

<p>Campaigning for Turkey’s parliamentary elections has entered its final week.</p> <p>For President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an event on Saturday celebrating the Ottomans’ conquest of Istanbul was a chance to rally support for the ruling AK Party, which he founded.</p> <p>While constitutionally banned from party politics as head of state, Erdogan has nonetheless delivered podium speeches around the country in recent weeks ahead of the June 7 election.</p> <p>He wants the Islamist-rooted <span class="caps">AKP</span> to win a big enough majority to change the constitution and hand him greater powers, within a presidential system.</p> <p>Although opinion polls suggest the party may struggle to do so, one <span class="caps">AKP</span> supporter, who spoke to euronews at the rally, needs no convincing.</p> <p>“The AK Party has been in government for 12 years and it’s powerful. In 90 years of this republic, no other party has reached out in such a way to Kurds, Alawites and others,” he said.</p> <p>Campaigning nearby, however, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party or <span class="caps">HDP</span>, hopes to cross the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament. </p> <p>And by taking seats from Erdogan’s party, it could wreck the <span class="caps">AKP</span>s hopes of forming a majority government.</p> <p>“We don’t want the AK Party to rule alone again,” one <span class="caps">HDP</span> supporter told euronews.</p> <p>“If they become a one-party government…they will pass whatever laws they want. They’ll write the constitution as they please… So we must overcome the threshold.”</p> <p>Accused by opponents of links to the banned <span class="caps">PKK</span> Kurdish militant group, the <br /> <span class="caps">HDP</span> now proudly displays the Turkish flag – hoping to appeal to all those who seek a strong opposition.</p> <p>Our correspondent in Istanbul, Bora Bayraktar, says: “With a week to go, parties are playing their last cards in Istanbul which has the biggest number of voters. On the one hand, the <span class="caps">HDP</span>, seeking to pass that threshold. On the other, the <span class="caps">AKP</span> which wants to rule alone. The two parties’ supporters, meeting in nearby squares, will determine the fate of Turkey.”</p>