Presidential hopeful Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu greets his supporters during a campaign event at Istanbul's Spice Bazaar, July 23. AFP Photo / Ozan Köse
Presidential candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu visited Istanbul’s historic Spice Bazaar on July 23, as part of his campaign for the upcoming election.
İhsanoğlu, who has the backing of nine political parties, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for the upcoming election, met with shop owners during his visit.
During the visit, the former secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) responded to criticism from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a former ally and currently his main opponent in the Aug. 10 presidential race. Erdoğan had claimed that İhsanoğlu made it to his current position with his support.
“How I was promoted to this position is clear … Taking part in international missions is not something you owe, it is a service performed in the name of the state and the people. I believe I have performed those services very well,” İhsanoğlu said.
He also criticized state-run broadcaster TRT over the lack of air-time provided to himself and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtaş.
“[So far] TRT has aired the prime minister for 550 minutes, while only four minutes have been given to Mr. Selahattin and myself combined,” he said.
İhsanoğlu was later scheduled to visit Esenler, another Istanbul district, and the Sultanahmet
Mosque for the fast-breaking iftar dinner on July 23.