CHP determines mayoral candidates after internal party disputes
CHP’s Istanbul provincial head Canan Kaftancıoğlu
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has determined mayoral candidates for the districts of the provinces of Istanbul and İzmir following nightlong negotiations at a party assembly meeting until the early hours of Jan. 28 amid a series of disputes between members.
Some 145 mayoral candidates were determined at the party assembly.
The party revealed 30 candidates for İzmir and its districts, nominating Seferihisar district mayor Tunç Soyer as its candidate for the entire Aegean province. But his candidacy was not welcomed by the CHP’s election ally İYİ (Good) Party.
The CHP’s decision “is respected as one of the party management… While it was our priority to embrace every segment and also to make a choice considering the sensitivities of certain segments of the society, nominating Mr. Soyer at the last party assembly of the CHP was reacted by our party base and some of our organizations,” İYİ Party’s provincial branch said in a written statement.
While mayoral candidate for Şişli Municipality in Istanbul failed to receive the assembly’s approval, Turan Hançerli was determined after a sudden turn as the candidate for Istanbul’s Avcılar district instead of Hüseyin Aksu.
The decision on the mayoral candidates of the western province of Muğla also underwent many changes. Mehmet Kocadon for the Aegean district of Bodrum had failed to pass the party assembly, and Ali Acar, the mayor of Marmaris district, was not presented as a candidate.
Following the CHP’s decision to not show Acar as the candidate for Marmaris Municipality, the party’s Marmaris provincial branch management announced their resignation.
Disputes over mayoral candidates of Istanbul’s districts, especially Ataşehir, Maltepe, Bakırköy and Şişli, later prompted the CHP’s Istanbul provincial head, Canan Kaftancıoğlu, to resign, sources told daily Hürriyet.
Kaftancıoğlu’s resignation came after the candidacy of Battal İlgezdi, former mayor of Istanbul’s Ataşehir district, was finalized at the 18-hour party assembly.
According to sources, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu suggested İlgezdi as Ataşehir’s candidate, who was removed from his duty as mayor by the Interior Ministry on 2017, regardless of many prior disagreements at the CHP meetings.
After İlgezdi’s candidacy was finalized by a secret ballot, tensions rose in the meeting that concluded with Kaftancıoğlu’s resignation, which she announced over her Twitter account.
“From now on, I am here to accomplish our Istanbul dream, not as your provincial head, but as an unyielding, inexhaustible member of our party,” Kaftancıoğlu said on Jan. 27 on her Twitter account.
Seyit Torun, CHP’s vice chairman in charge of municipalities, later said that Kaftancıoğlu had not submitted a letter of resignation yet.
Seven hours later, in the early hours of Jan. 28, Kaftancıoğlu announced that she was back in her job upon the provincial administration’s and organization’s requests and insistences.
“Since I thought I could not reflect the voice of the CHP’s Istanbul organization to the decision-makers of our party, during the local election process, I decided to resign from the provincial leadership and continue as a soldier of our party,” she had said in her resignation post on Twitter.
“With the intense pressures from our party and my friends in the provincial administration, I am carrying on with my duty and my fight due to my responsibility to our party, our organization, our electorate and Istanbul,” she later added.