Opposition presidential candidate İnce vows ‘peace, development and sharing’ in Turkey’s southeast
Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on May 10 promised to solve the country’s Kurdish issue through “peace, growth and sharing.”
“The Kurdish issue is a problem. We will be frank about this. What is the Kurdish issue? It is a political, economic and cultural problem. We will solve this problem through peace, growth and sharing,” İnce said at a rally in the eastern province of Hakkari, where 84 percent of the votes in the 2015 general elections went to the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“I stand by the words I utter here even when I go to [the northwestern province of] Edirne,” İnce said, criticizing other politicians for coming to address crowds before forgetting about them after elections.
“Sometimes people in Edirne may get upset with us; sometimes people in Hakkari may get upset with us. But we will find the right way,” İnce added.
Demirtaş-İnce meeting brought up ‘jail time’
İnce also referred to his recent visit to Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former HDP co-leader who is the party’s presidential candidate, at Edirne Prison on May 9.
“Let all candidates stay in jail for one week. I shouldn’t be the only [candidate] doing all this jail time,” İnce quoted Demirtaş as saying in a jovial manner.
Demirtaş has been in jail for a year-and-a-half on “terror” charges and faces up to 142 years behind bars if convicted.
Erdoğan-İnce meeting ‘friendly’
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also received İnce for a visit late on May 9.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş and CHP Deputy Group Chair Engin Altay were also present at the meeting, after which İnce told reporters that he wished Erdoğan and his party success in the snap elections to take place on June 24.
Elitaş said Erdoğan and İnce had a friendly conversation and wished each other success.
Last month, parliament passed a bill calling for early elections a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule.
The government aims to cement Turkey’s shift to an executive presidential system, which was narrowly approved in a controversial referendum in April 2017, marred by allegations of voting irregularities.
İnce also met with recently-founded İYİ (Good) Party founder and leader Meral Akşener as well as Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu ahead of campaigning.
On May 5, the CHP, İYİ Party, SP and the Democrat Party signed a declaration marking a four-way election alliance called the “National Alliance,” pledging to “remove polarization, instill independence of the judiciary and ensure basic rights and freedoms.” The AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have also formed what they call a “People’s Alliance” and are jointly supporting Erdoğan in the election.
İnce reveals asset record
Following up on a previous promise, İnce also released his asset record on May 10.
The former physics teacher, who has one child and is married, announced that he has 100,000 Turkish Liras in assets (roughly $23,565), $20,000 and 30,000 euros in total in his bank accounts.