On June 7, 2015, Turkey will hold its twenty-fourth general election to determine the 550 new members of the parliament. As the election date approaches, Turkish politics boil a little hotter. One development that has added fuel to the fire is the recent decision of Turkey’s largest Kurdish political party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to contest the elections as a “single party” for the first time.
The HDP is a left-wing political organization that emphasizes minority, namely Kurdish, rights. A party in name, but not by representation, in the Turkish parliament, HDP has not always been a major force in Turkish politics. This changed last year, when its young and charismatic leader, Selahattin Demirtaş, enjoyed an unprecedented level of popularity and won almost 10 percent of the national votes in the August 2014 presidential elections. Prior to Demirtaş’ success, HDP and its predecessors had only been receiving around 6-7 percent of the national votes. Given that Turkey has one of the highest electoral thresholds in the world, which requires a political party to garner at least 10 percent of the national votes to gain any seats in parliament, enjoying such a low level of electoral popularity has been an obstacle in advancing Kurdish rights.