Four Turkish opposition parties have announced the forming of a coalition in an attempt to challenge Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan party in the upcoming national election.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Bulent Tezcan made the announcement of the formation of the “nation alliance” on Saturday.
Tezcan party is teaming-up with the nationalist Good Party, the Felicity Party and the Democrat Party in an attempt to weaken the Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
All four parties have put forward their own candidates for the presidential elections to run against Erdogan, but will run as an alliance for the parliamentary election, which is to held on the same day as the presidential elections.
Tezcan added that the parliamentary candidates from the Democrat Party would run under the Good Party. The small party also announced that it would back the Good Party leader and presidential candidate Meral Aksener.
The alliance will bring together “different lifestyles and political opinions” under democratic principles for stability and security in Turkey, read a statement released by the alliance.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate for Turkey’s main opposition has called for the release of the pro-Kurdish opposition’s detained candidate, calling on Erdogan to “let us race like men” in upcoming election.
On Friday, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) nominated Muharrem Ince as their presidential election candidate, while the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) nominated its jailed former leader Selahattin Demirtas.
“The HDP are also children of this nation, the AKP are also children of this country … Don’t keep Demirtas in jail. Come, let’s race like men,” said Ince.
Earlier in the day, Demirtas dismissed the likelihood of a free and fair election under the current state of emergency in the country.
“Demonstrations are banned, talking is banned, criticizing the government is banned, even defending peace is considered terror propaganda,” he said.
“It is impossible for there to be fair elections in such an environment,” he added.
The 45-year-old politician was a candidate against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party (AKP) in the August 2014 presidential election and led the HDP into parliament for the first time in the June 2015 vote.
The politician was arrested in November 2016 in a crackdown that followed the July 2016 coup attempt and was put on trial in several cases, especially on charges of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group. Turkish prosecutors have called for an imprisonment term of up to 142 years for him.
Turkey will hold snap presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, previously slated to be held next year. Erdogan started campaigning for his re-election on Saturday, saying he would certainly win the vote.
The election is planned to be held under the state of emergency that has been in place since a failed coup attempt.
Under the state of emergency, Turkey has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups suspected to have played a role in the failed coup.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested across the country and over 140,000 others, including military staff, civil servants and journalists, have been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.
The international community and rights groups have been highly critical of the Turkish president over the massive dismissals and the crackdown.