CHP accelerates presidential consultations, denies delay in process
AA PhotoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will meet leaders of other opposition parties starting from Monday next week, dismissing claims that the opposition is leaving it late in appointing its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.
“Are we too late? No, we are not. The process shows one point: We should bring a name known by the public. There are so many people unknown to people whose qualifications perfectly suit the presidency, but unfortunately this process obliges us to introduce candidates better known by the people,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with private broadcaster Habertürk on June 5.
The CHP leader ruled out his own candidacy, just as Devlet Bahçeli, the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) recently did, and stressed that the head of the nation must be non-partisan and embrace all segments of society. Kılıçdaroğlu and Bahçeli met last week to discuss whether the two opposition parties could agree on a joint candidate.
“I will be in Germany this weekend and will again meet political party representatives next week. I think we will speedily announce our decision after this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that he would hold his first meeting with the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) on Monday.
“I have already announced: The next president should not be determined in polarization. The opposition on the one side and the government on the other … I do not find this right. The correct thing is to create a societal consensus. In the case of polarization, those who vote for the other candidate feel discriminated. This country has suffered a lot from this sort of polarization. The core of democracy is conciliation.”
‘Baykal would make a good president’
Although Kılıçdaroğlu repeated that they were not at the stage of naming presidential candidates yet, he shared his own personal views about some figures seen as potential candidates, such as former CHP chairman Deniz Baykal. “It’s a little bit early to say whether Baykal’s name will be on our agenda but we’ll look at this. He has already said he could be a candidate if there is a consensus on him,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that Baykal had “vast experience” as a veteran politician.
Another figure whose name is floating in Ankara is Rıza Türmen, deputy leader of the CHP and former judge at the European Court of Human Rights. “He is someone who knows justice very well. He not only distributed justice for Turkey but for the whole of Europe. He is surely a very valuable person,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, without further commenting.
He also shared his positive views about other potential candidates, such as Abdüllatif Şener who split from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) over the corruption claims and the CHP’s Eskişehir Mayor, Yılmaz Büyükerşen, but stressed that neither of these names had yet applied for the presidency.
The CHP leader also said he would meet a number of artists before concluding his consultations over the presidential candidate.