The Kurds’ support for Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The invitation of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to the opposition alliance for talks on backing Kilicdaroglu, a joint candidate against President Tayyip Erdogan in May’s election, has caused consternation among the nationalist elements of the motley union.

Mithat Sansar, one of the leaders of the HDP, the third largest party in the Turkish parliament, extended the invitation on Monday night after the six-party opposition bloc announced that Kemal Kilicdaroglu would be its common candidate.

Sansar extended an invitation to the bloc for talks that could pave the way for the HDP to back Kilicdaroglu.

“Our goal is democracy, justice, freedom. Basically, we want to talk about principles,” he told the Haberturk network.

Two opposition alliance officials told Reuters there were fears such talks with the HDP they may undermine support among nationalist voters opposed to his pro-Kurdish stance.

The role of HDP

The Constitutional Court is considering an appeal against the HDP over its alleged links to Kurdish rebels, which the pro-Kurdish party denies, and is under threat of a ban.

The HDP is playing the role of moderator in the May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections, and it is highly likely that the opposition alliance will need its support to end Erdogan’s two decades in power.

Bringing together social democrats, nationalists, secularists and Islamists, the opposition alliance put political and ideological differences aside to support common candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

An opposition alliance official told Reuters that Sanchar’s invitation comes “a bit prematurely”, adding that the issue of HDP support will be the opposition’s biggest problem.

“Openly supporting the HDP will cause negative reactions, mainly from the IYI Party and its base,” he said, referring to the nationalist party that is the second largest in the opposition alliance.

“The HDP’s support is extremely important,” he said, adding that it could undermine support elsewhere.

Another official from another party in the alliance said that public support for the HDP will cut the share of IYI (Meral Aksener’s Good Party) by five percentage points and CHP (Kilicdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party) by 2 to 3 percentage points.

Some polls give the opposition alliance the lead over the coalition of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and the nationalist MHP, but by a short margin. The HDP gets 10% of the vote.

“Delicate Balance”

In his speech yesterday, Kemal Kilicdaroglu made no mention of the HDP, and stated that the remaining five parties will help seal the electoral victory.

“A very delicate balance has to be struck here. Otherwise, there will be a price,” the second party official said. “Votes coming from the HDP may equal those lost to the alliance.”

As part of his election campaign, Erdogan is expected to play up allegations of HDP ties to Kurdish rebels and the pro-Kurdish party’s role in the opposition, analysts said.

Although the timing of the Constitutional Court’s decision is not known, the HDP’s request to postpone the decision until after the elections has been rejected. The Constitutional Court has already frozen the party’s accounts.

The second official of the opposition alliance said that some Kurdish voters will not support the alliance because of IYI’s participation.

Sansar stated that the HDP played a key role in creating political balances in Turkey and this should be acknowledged openly and not behind closed doors. He added that no progress has been made since the presentation of his political platform in September.

Previously, HDP ehe has hinted that he will present his own candidate if there are no talks, but Mithat Sandsar said the party is reviewing its stance after the February 6 earthquake.