AKP’s candidate confident of victory in Ankara
Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
Mehmet Özhaseki, the mayoral candidate for Ankara from the ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has expressed confidence that he will win the capital city against his main rival, Mansur Yavaş, with at least three points difference.
“Latest surveys indicate that I have already closed the gap with him and I have even surpassed him. I think I am going to win Ankara with a three to five point difference,” Özhaseki told the Hürriyet Daily News during his visit to the Demirören Media Center on March 7 in Ankara.
Özhaseki, as the joint candidate of the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), dubbed the People’s Alliance, is running against Yavaş, the joint candidate of the Nation Alliance, composed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party.
The People’s Alliance’s candidate admitted that Yavaş was well ahead of him in the last months, but the picture has started to change as both he and his projects are better heard by the public opinion in Ankara.
“I would prefer to compete with him through our projects and promises for Ankara. But I have not heard any concrete project from him. His sole argument is based on his victimization in the 2014 elections,” Özhaseki stated.
Yavaş claims that he had lost municipal elections in 2014 against former AKP Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek as a result of a fraud committed by the ruling party.
Surveys show that the faction of MHP voters that will lend support to him is steadily increasing, and that will allow him to reach the total votes the People’s Alliance garnered in last year’s twin elections, Özhaseki said.
Özhaseki had served as the mayor of Kayseri, a Central Anatolian province, for around two decades before serving as the urbanization and environment minister in the previous AKP governments. He was subjected to criticisms that he is not from Ankara and therefore does not know the problems of Turkey’s second largest city.
“I argue that I know the problems of Ankara much better than them. None of them, including CHP’s chair, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, know them better than me,” Özhaseki said. “Kılıçdaroğlu who is from Tunceli was the CHP’s mayoral candidate for Istanbul in the past. So how can they make an issue against me?”
Criticizing the Nation Alliance for forming an indirect partnership with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Özhaseki said: “The HDP did not present a candidate from Ankara. And they have explicitly said they will work with the Nation Alliance against our candidates in the western parts of Turkey. This is our right to ask why they don’t declare this alliance. If the HDP supports them they better say it.”