AKP, CHP İstanbul nominees agree on TV debate ahead of polls
Two main contenders of the Istanbul rerun elections, Binali Yıldırım from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Ekrem İmamoğlu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), agreed on a live TV debate that will be aired by all channels on June 16, a week before the polls.
The debate will be moderated by renowned journalist İsmail Küçükkaya of Fox News.
The announcement was made on June 10 by Mahir Ünal and Engin Altay, the respective deputy leaders of the AKP and CHP. The two men said they agreed on a six-article protocol for the live debate after two party leaders also provided their consent.
Ünal told reporters that the debate “will be held under the principle of same question-equal time.”
The two parties will set up a joint technical committee to undertake technical works for the coverage of the live debate, added Atlay.
The debate will take place in Istanbul’s Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center at 9 p.m.
The last TV debate between rival political leaders took place between AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former CHP leader Deniz Baykal before the 2002 general elections. Since then, due to heavy polarization, political leaders have avoided TV appearances together with their contenders. The İmamoğlu-Yıldırım debate, therefore, will mark a milestone.
The two mayoral candidates finished the March 31 polls neck-to-neck with İmamoğlu claiming a narrow win. The AKP’s appeal for the cancellation of the Istanbul polls was approved by the Supreme Election Board (YSK), which called rerun elections for June 23.
“I will have a great pleasure in discussing Istanbul with all its dimensions on June 16 at 9.00 p.m. I wish you success,” İmamoğlu tweeted while mentioning Binali Yıldırım’s Twitter handle.