Turkey's main opposition leader slams dissidents: 'Leadership necessitates ethical principles'

Turkey's main opposition leader slams dissidents: 'Leadership necessitates ethical principles'

İpek Özbey - ANKARA
Turkeys main opposition leader slams dissidents: Leadership necessitates ethical principles

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader has responded to the ongoing in-house debate over a call for leadership change, stating that election results should not be the only variable in evaluating leadership “if there is a struggle for democracy.” 

“I have never had passion for a seat,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet in an exclusive interview on Aug. 13.

His comments came amid his seat and administration were targeted with fierce criticisms from CHP dissidents, who argue that the current results in the latest elections are a direct consequence of Kılıçdaroğlu’s management.

The dissident movement led by CHP presidential candidate Muharrem İnce initiated a process to convey an extraordinary congress but the signatures necessary for such a congress has fallen short.

Kılıçdaroğlu said he had not expected a dissident move from İnce right after the parliamentary elections. The CHP leader said there was a lack of political trajectory, which he said was essential to achieve such a move in congress.

“A person who would like to be the chair of a political party should build a philosophy on the ground of ethical values. If you want to be a leader of a political party, you certainly have to comply with those ethical values,” he added.

The main opposition party has received 22 percent of the votes in the latest June 24 elections while İnce has received 33 percent as a presidential candidate. The number was five points less than previous elections and dissidents argue Kılıçdaroğlu should take responsibility as a leader who has lost this number of elections.

He responded to criticisms by stating the election results should not be considered the sole variable in assessing the success of a leadership “if the struggle is so important for democracy.”

“Yes, our votes decreased, but democracy was the one which won,” the CHP leader said.

The pre-election alliance formed with three other parties “has provided all parties representation in parliament,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

“The ruling party has lost almost seven points and its majority in the parliament,” he said, adding “some circles refuse to acknowledge how important this movement was.”

His latest reshuffle of the Central Executive Board (MYK) where five of 17 deputy leadership positions were changed, while six new names brought to the top board were interpreted as a move to soothe the criticisms.

“We should take into account our friends who have signed for a convention,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, answering a question that indicates there were some 560 of the 1,200 delegates who have signed for the leadership change.

“It is not right to evaluate the change in the MYK over names. Because all successors and predecessors are valuable names in their fields,” the CHP leader said.

His administration aims to make “a serious change in the party organization” in a bid to create a more “young and dynamic organization.”

Kılıçdaroğlu added that the main opposition would hold a meeting with an agenda for local elections and open discussion over preparations.

CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Politics