Main opposition leader invites Şişli Mayor Sarıgül’s movement to join CHP
Mustafa Sarıgül, the popular mayor of Şişli, one of Istanbul’s busiest districts, is a former CHP member. DHA photoMain opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has formally invited Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül’s group, the Turkey Movement for Change (TDH), to join the Republican People’s Party (CHP) ahead of the upcoming local elections.
“I invite Turkey Movement for Change with all its members to unite with the CHP. We don’t have the luxury of being separated,” Kılıçdaroğlu said during a speech today at a Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER) meeting.
Sarıgül, considered by many as the only politician who can successfully defeat the Justice and Development party (AKP) in Istanbul mayoral elections, has long been seen as a potential CHP candidate in the polls.
Popular among the locals of one of Istanbul’s busiest districts, Sarıgül had previously said he was expecting a formal invitation from his former party without disclosing his intentions on whether to run for the Istanbul mayoralty.
Sarıgül was expelled from the CHP after initiating a campaign to topple the then-party leader, Deniz Baykal, and become a leadership candidate during a 2005 convention. Perceived as the flag-bearer of progressive factions, he founded the TDH in 2008, which has yet to register as a party.
Without mentioning Sarıgül’s name, Kılıçdaroğlu said both the TDH and the CHP should come together to defend the same vision of the Turkish Republic. “If we want a modern civilization, we have to end [divisions such as] party A, party B or movement B,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
In a number of surveys, the gap between the AKP incumbent Kadir Topbaş and Sarıgül is said to have fallen to four points.
However, uncertainty also surrounds the AKP’s potential choice of candidate, with rumors continuing to swirl that EU Minister Egemen Bağış could run instead of Topbaş, despite being dismissed by the former.
‘It is not appropriate to target a bureaucrat’
Meanwhile, Kılıçdaroğlu has also endorsed the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan, saying the he should not have been targeted by U.S. newspapers.
“It is not appropriate to target a civil servant,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Radikal, while adding that the intelligence chief was not the focus of the accusations.
Kılıçdaroğlu deplored the government for not informing the main opposition about the matters described in the U.S. newspapers.
Veteran Washington Post columnist David Ignatius claimed last week that Turkey blew the cover on a group of Israeli spies, disclosing their names to Iranian intelligence, while noting that Fidan was considered “suspect” by Israeli authorities due to his “close” ties to Tehran.
Another article published in the Wall Street Journal two weeks ago claimed that Fidan championed the idea of sending weapons to the Syrian opposition without any checks on the nature of the recipients.
“If the government wants a common position, then it should inform the opposition. If the undersecretary of MİT is targeted by attacks, we will endorse our own citizen and our priority would be Turkey’s interest,” he said.