Main opposition CHP ‘expecting a step from Sarıgül,’ Kılıçdaroğlu says
The current Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül (C) is considered as the figure likely to garner the most votes in Istanbul against any Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate in March 2014 local elections. AA photoMain opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has put the ball back into Mustafa Sarıgül’s court over the latter’s possible return to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) amid speculation that he could announce his candidacy for the mayoralty of Istanbul.
“Mustafa Sarıgül’s situation has not been discussed in the party assembly as there has been no application [for membership] from his part. We are waiting for a step from Sarıgül to return to the party,” Kılıçdaroğlu told private broadcaster Habertürk on Sept. 8.
Despite reportedly not being favored by some prominent members of his former party, the current Şişli mayor is considered as the figure likely to garner the most votes in Istanbul against any Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate in March 2014 local elections.
In a number of surveys, the gap between the AKP incumbent Kadir Topbaş and Sarıgül is said to have fallen to four points.
However, Kılıçdaroğlu warned Sarıgül not to divide the CHP. “The party has to escape from its old sicknesses. If someone is going to come with division and separatism, he’d better not come at all,” he added.
Sarıgül was expelled from the CHP after he initiated a campaign to topple then-party leader Deniz Baykal, becoming a leadership candidate during a 2005 convention and the perceived flag bearer of progressive groups.
Kılıçdaroğlu also commented on claims that Sarıgül might be run as an AKP candidate. “If he says ‘I’m a social democrat,’ then his address is the CHP. That is clear,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Another prominent potential CHP candidate for Istanbul is the deputy leader of the party, Gürsel Tekin.