Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül ‘will soon join CHP,’ senior party official says
İZMİR – Doğan News Agency
Mustafa Sarıgül, considered by many as the only the politician who can draw enough against the Development and Justice party (AKP) in the March 2014 Istanbul Municipality elections. AA photoCurrent Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, considered by many as the only the politician who can draw enough against the Development and Justice party (AKP) in the March 2014 Istanbul Municipality elections, is as close as ever to join the main opposition.
A senior Republican People’s Party (CHP) official said Sarıgül "will soon join the CHP [ranks]."
“I believe that Sarıgül will register as a member of CHP in the coming days. If the party assembly and the central executive board deem it to be suitable, he will run in the upcoming local elections,” CHP’s deputy head, Adnan Keskin, told reporters on Sept. 22 in İzmir.
Keskin, who is also responsible for the party’s organizational management, said that there was a convergence of understanding between Sarıgül and the party.
“[Sarıgül] can apply to the party by himself. Or, different formulas can be used. The party charter has different interpretations; the legal obstacles could be overcome. The important thing is to have a convergence of opinions and understanding, which we have achieved,” Keskin said.
Despite reportedly not being favored by some prominent members of his former party, as Mayor of Istanbul’s most central districts, Sarıgül is favored by an important fringe of the locals.
His small tour last week-end in Thrace showed his popularity, once again, as he was cheered and greeted by a crowd of supporters at each place he stopped at.
A former member of CHP, Sarıgül initiated a campaign to topple the then-party leader, Deniz Baykal, and becoming a leadership candidate during a 2005 convention. Perceived as the flag-bearer of progressive factions, he founded Turkey’s Change Movement in 2008, which has yet to register as a party up to now.
Keskin emphasized that CHP also wanted Sarıgül to join them, due to his history with the party.
“[Sarıgül] was CHP’s sympathizer since the beginning. He has received CHP’s culture, worked in the party and showed serious as well as successful [skills] in local administrations. We wanted him to come and register to be a member of our part,” Keskin said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu gave the green light for Sarıgül’s return to the party two weeks ago, although putting the ball back in his court and stressing that they were expecting him “to take [the necessary] step.”
In a number of surveys, the gap between the AKP incumbent Kadir Topbaş and Sarıgül is said to have fallen to four points.
Uncertainty also surrounds AKP’s candidate choice, with rumors that EU Minister Egemen Bağış could run instead of Topbaş still ongoing, despite being dismissed by the former.