CHP: Losing Turkey to hold onto İzmir

CHP: Losing Turkey to hold onto İzmir

I have recently witnessed a heated debate among members and voters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in an Anatolian town.

One asked directly, “Would Muharrem İnce – CHP’s presidential candidate — be able to gather sufficient votes [to force the party into an extraordinary general assembly]?”

Without leaving time for me to reply, someone jumped in and said, “His right-hand man has just said they got 500 votes already.”

Another one said this could not be true, arguing that the delegates are under pressure from the headquarters of the party.

They kept debating until remembering my presence and asking my view.

I answered their question with a question: “Suppose they gathered the required number of signatures, then what?”

“It is not right for someone who lost nine elections to keep his seat,” said one and started to criticize the CHP’s current administration.

He recalled 30 percent of the votes which İnce got in the presidential elections. Then the debate started to revolve around whether these votes were genuinely given to İnce for his views or whether he got the votes of those who opposed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

I then asked: “Why is İnce not waiting for the general assembly to take place, instead of forcing for an extraordinary meeting? Until then he can tour Anatolia, reactivate local organizations, have face-to-face meetings with the delegates and win comfortably in the general assembly.”

The cacophony that was taking place until that moment stopped and all gave the same answer:

“İnce wants to choose the candidates for the municipalities.”

The debate was over as far as I was concerned.

Somewhere in a rural place the CHP constituency had deciphered the truth behind the dispute between the headquarters and İnce.

The whole issue is to go to local elections in places like Çankaya (in Ankara) Kadıköy (in İstanbul) and the western province of İzmir, the strongholds of the CHP where victory is guaranteed with names they get to choose.

No one cares about the fact that the way to win the government passes through local administrations. No one thought of the possibility to march to power by getting their forces together, joining their strengths and talents before local elections.

What everyone has in mind are the cities and provinces that the CHP is set to win.

You might find this too ambitious for a statement, but I can clearly write this based on my observations:

If the CHP is to spend the eight months ahead of elections tangled in internal rivalries, it will lose the places it had secured.

They will face very big disappointments in İzmir, in some of Istanbul’s districts, as well as the southern provinces of Mersin, Adana and Antalya.

I think the CHP’s problem is crystal clear and is well-known to its members, delegates and local representatives: Instead of becoming government in Turkey, it is to find holding onto power in Kadıköy, Çankaya and İzmir sufficient; to struggle not for Turkey but fight within the party.

The obvious outcome then becomes this: Losing Turkey in order to hold onto Kadıköy, Çankaya and İzmir.

Deniz Zeyrek, CHP, Republican People’s Party, Izmir, Kadıköy, Çankaya