CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu faces two leadership challenges at convention
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will be challenged by two contenders, Yalova deputy Muharrem İnce and former Istanbul Bar Head Ümit Kocasakal, during the party’s 36th Ordinary Convention scheduled to take place on Feb. 3 and 4.
At the convention, delegates will select the party’s new cadres including the Party Assembly.
“I hope our convention will take place in a calm manner. There are some candidates for the leadership but this process will be clarified tomorrow [on Feb. 3]. There could be some provocative acts to discredit our convention but we will never allow it,” CHP Deputy Chair Tekin Bingöl told reporters on Feb. 2, saying all who want to run for the party management will “enjoy the CHP’s well-established democratic culture.”
“Elections will be finalized with the free will of our 1,266 delegates. This convention will pave the way for the CHP to run for government in the coming period,” Bingöl added.
CHP to launch fresh campaign for freedom of arrested MP
Meanwhile, he also stated that the party will launch a new campaign for the freedom of arrested CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu during the convention.
“It will be a different, historic convention. We have received a request from our Istanbul deputies for our brother Enis Berberoğlu. We’ll launch a campaign for his freedom,” he said.
“Signatures will be collected for his freedom,” Bingöl said, adding that Berberoğlu will presented as a candidate to become an honorary member of the Party Assembly, which will be put to a vote.
Berberoğlu is currently behind bars in Istanbul’s Maltepe Prison. He sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14, 2017 on charges of “leaking state secrets.” The first CHP lawmaker to be given prison time, Berberoğlu is accused of providing daily Cumhuriyet with a video purporting to show National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks sending weapons to Syria. He has appealed the verdict and the next hearing in the case will take place on Feb. 16.
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu launched an historic “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul immediately after the arrest of Berberoğlu in a bid to draw attention to political pressure on the Turkish judicial system.