Time Is Ticking #TurkishElections2018
While the clock is ticking; each day the agenda of Turkey, rumors, declarations, assumptions revolve fast.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has been authorized fully by his party assembly to conduct electoral alliance talks and take whatever decision he considered appropriate.
The day, April 24, for example started with strong allegations about former President Abdullah Gül’s nomination for upcoming elections as a candidate of possible alliance of the CHP, the Good Party (IYI Party) and the Felicity Party (SP) alliance.
It was announced that Meral Akşener, leader of IYI Party, would meet Kılıçdaroğlu at the CHP headquarters. It was also expected that Kılıçdaroğlu would suggest an electoral alliance that included the nomination of Abdullah Gül as the candidate of the three-way opposition alliance. In the meantime, the spread of the speculation that Gül might become the “presidential candidate ” of the opposition electoral coalition, triggered a massive grassroots reaction in the CHP that flooded the social media with the hash tag of #AbdullahGülCHPyeİHANETTİR (Abdullah Gül is betrayal to CHP).
This response was followed by declarations of CHP MPs against such an eventuality. The twitter post of CHP Parliamentary Group Chair Özgür Özel was a demonstration of the frustration in the party over such allegations. “Enough. We are fed up with all these speculations. The only objective here is to create debates and lower morale in the CHP. The CHP has never had Abdullah Gül’s name on the table. It doesn’t have it now and it won’t have it in the future” said Özel in his twitter message. Muharrem İnce, Yalova deputy from the CHP whose name was among probable presidential candidates of the main opposition party, was clearer in his “Gül can only be a candidate of SP” twitter message.
After the meeting of Akşener and Kılıçdaroğlu they held a press conference and Akşener stated clearly that she would run for presidency. She said her visit to Kılıçdaroğlu was to extend their appreciation to CHP for asking 15 of their MPs to resign, switch to IYI Party and thus help it to overcome electoral obstacles that might be used to bar it from contesting in the elections.
With CHP deputies joining the İYİ Party, the new conservative party’s parliamentary strength has reached the required minimum number of 20 seats to form a group in parliament. Kılıçdaroğlu restated that the move did not have any ulterior motives other than helping IYI Party overcome obstacles, thus removing an obstacle to democracy.
Shortly after, it was announced that Temel Karamollaoğlu, leader of the SP, arrived at the office of former President Abdullah Gül. Karamollaoğlu was expected to exchange views on possible alliances for the upcoming elections and discuss the conditions for Gül to be a candidate in the Presidential elections although it was not very likely for CHP to agree to the candidacy of Gül after the backlash.
To summarize the hectic day, Turkey was still waiting not only for the results of Karamollaoğlu-Gül meeting, but also the outcome of visits of CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan and group chair Özgür Özel to Democrat Party (DP).
Time is ticking, but the kick start will be after the declaration of the electoral calendar by Supreme Electoral Board (YSK ). Stay tuned!