Turkey's opposition leader under pressure after defeat

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu is now under pressure to step down following a string of defeats to the ruling AKP and failure to get his candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu elected as president.

Turkey's opposition leader under pressure after defeat

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), is facing immense pressure from its supporters and members after ex-diplomat Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu - their joint presidential candidate with right-wing National Movement Part (MHP) - suffered a major defeat to ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) candidate, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Sunday's election.

Former Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief Ihsanoglu's candidacy had originally been opposed by a number of CHP politicians due to his religious background, which some argued opposed CHP's staunchly secular values. Ihsanoglu was nonetheless able to get enough support to be named a candidate, but following Sunday's defeat, those who presented him as a candidate are now facing scrutiny from their fellow party members.

“If the chairman of the party (Kemal Kilicdaroglu) is responsible for this defeat, then we should to go to the convention. But if the ones responsible are individuals (who advised the chairman to appoint Ekmeleddin İhsanoglu), then these people should be expelled from the party,” CHP member Suheyl Batum told the Anadolu Agency on Monday.

“Who came up with this strategy? From whom did the chairman hear that this candidate would get 10 percent of the Justice and Development Party’s votes? We’ll surely ask him these questions. Who pushed us to deceive the CHP’s voters? There is someone doing so and he or she is responsible,” he added.

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu is now under pressure to step down following a string of defeats to the ruling AKP and failure to get his candidate Ihsanoglu elected.

Meanwhile, the head of Turkey’s Bar Association, Metin Feyzioglu, who has been tipped as a potential replacement for Kilicdaroglu, criticized the Turkish opposition for not being able to provide an alternative to the ruling AKP.

“The presidential elections resulted in the total defeat of the opposition. The opposition’s decision to appoint a joint candidate by ignoring the people’s political preferences has caused the violation of the people’s right to a free election and proliferates Turkey creeping toward a more authoritarian environment,” he said in a written statement on Monday.

“The responsibility for this defeat cannot be laid on those who did not vote, nor on the two parties’ organizations who were completely isolated from the process...it belongs to those who imposed this joint candidate formula on their parties and voters,” Feyzioglu added, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

CHP lawmaker Emine Ulker Tarhan called on Kilicdaroglu to resign and convene an extraordinary party congress to protect the future of the CHP and Turkey. She said: "We anticipated the coming events [the loss of the election] and we gave a warning but we were confronted by threats."


CHP leader Kilicdaroglu said he has no regret in nominating Ihsanoglu as a presidential candidate, while MHP leader Devlet Bahceli blamed the defeat on those who failed to vote.

"If there had been an election today, I would have announced Ihsanoglu as CHP's candidate again. Today, Turkish politics gained a new and clear name with Ihsanoglu . Ihsanoglu is a new actor with his experience and discourse in Turkish politics," Kilicdaroglu was reported saying by Daily Sabah.

Bahceli on the other hand said, "those who refrain from going to the ballot box for the sake of country, flag, state will be also accountable for the upcoming negativity," adding that he will respect the nation's decision.

Ihsanoglu meanwhile said that he did not consider his loss a defeat and congratulated Erdogan on his win. "Dear friends, I received about 39 percent of the votes and this is crucial as about a month ago when we first started our election campaign people claimed that nobody knew about me," he said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan became Turkey's 12th president on Sunday after claiming 52% of the nation's votes. Currently serving as Prime Minister, Erdogan is set to resign from his post and his position in the AKP to take on his new role.

Although there are no clear leads as to who will replace Erdogan as prime minister, many suspect Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will be a likely candidate. Other names mentioned include deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc and AKP vice-chairman Numan Kurtulmus.

Outgoing president Abdullah Gul has indicated that he will continue his political career by rejoining the AKP, which he founded with Erdogan in 2001.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Ağustos 2014, 14:34