CHP leader won’t allow second presidential candidate from the party
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu said he was sure there would be strong reactions, especially from within the CHP, against appointing İhsanoğlu, former secretary-general of the Islamıc Cooperation Organization and a well-known academic on Islam and history. AA PhotoKemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has vowed to not allow dissidents to appoint another figure from the party for presidency, while acknowledging he took a great risk by nominating Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu for the post.
“I have taken a risk by appointing this candidate. If I would have appointed a figure suitable for my party alone that would not have been a risk, but I do not want my country be dragged into an adventure. I do not want a regime change. That’s why our candidate has to be someone that can get votes from the left and right,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a televised interview late June 19.
Kılıçdaroğlu said he was sure there would be strong reactions, especially from within the CHP, against appointing İhsanoğlu, former secretary-general of the Islamıc Cooperation Organization and a well-known academic on Islam and history, but underlined “We are a party that is made up of different opinions, but if the party has decided to appoint a certain figure, there cannot be a second CHP candidate. I won’t allow this. I have changed many things in the CHP. Everyone can freely express their own views in this party.”
Some CHP lawmakers with nationalistic leanings have harshly criticized Kılıçdaroğlu for not appointing someone from within CHP ranks and agreeing on an individual known for his Islamic background.
Responding to criticisms that İhsanoğlu’s name was proposed to the CHP by Saudi Arabia through current President Abdullah Gül and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli, Kılıçdaroğlu said these were conspiracy theories that have no validity.
“I just wanted someone without a political identity. But at the same time, the person should be intellectual, peaceful, know the world and embrace everyone,” he said, adding he and his party fellows conducted heavy research to find someone who matches this criteria.
“I did not find anything negative about Mr. Ekmeleddin,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, “And then I took this name to Mr. Bahçeli as our proposal and he accepted it. What do I say about these claims about Saudi Arabia? I laugh at them. Mr. Ekmeleddin believes in gender equality and that has no place in Saudi Arabia.”
İhsanoğlu’s views about secularism, Atatürk and other universal values can be found in his books and he will surely explain his views along his candidacy, the CHP chief said:
“We have conducted a detailed search about Mr. Ekmeleddin: with whom he has met, with which leaders he has pictures, how are his relations? But I have never asked him ‘which party did you vote for?’ Or ‘what is your political color?’ In front of us, there is a person who knows Islamic values, the values of this people, very well and at the same time who knows the history of science: A man who has very good relations with Putin, Obama or Azeri leader. And he was conferred with the merit of the republic.”
Yaşar Kemal, Orhan Pamuk considered
Kılıçdaroğlu said they also considered Yaşar Kemal and Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s best-known authors, for candidacy.
The CHP chief said a campaign for donations to help with İhsanoğlu’s election campaign will be launched soon to meet the expense’s expectations. “We will allocate buses without the party logo on them,” he said.