CHP leader calls Turkey’s 2019 elections ‘a struggle for democracy’
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has once again described the upcoming 2019 elections as “a struggle for democracy” and a clash between “a one-man regime and democracy.”
“In 2019 Turkey will reach a crossroads. We have two options ahead of us, there is no third option. It is either a one-man regime or democracy. We, as CHP mayors, will continue defending democracy to the end, but democracy is slipping from under our feet. The one-man regime has not yet come into effect, but society has already started to pay the price for it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Nov. 22, speaking to CHP mayors in Ankara.
Criticizing Turkey’s current record of democracy, he said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been “exceeding his authority,” resulting in economic and social problems.
“Do you think U.S. dollars or euros have gained value out of nowhere, or that prices are rising for nothing? The responsibility lies with one man. If you surrender Turkey to this man, the same picture will continue to be on display,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“If this picture continues into 2019, 80 million [Turkish citizens] will face an even more painful picture,” he added, calling on everyone to vote “for democracy.”
“At the 2019 crossroads, I invite everybody to vote in favor of democracy. A person cannot know everything. A country cannot be controlled by a single person. He has already used some of that authority to bring Turkey to this point. If this excessive power is extended in 2019, then the country’s situation will worsen,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP head also stressed that the elections were crucial for the full enforcement of the constitutional amendment narrowly approved by the April 2016 referendum.
Referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) recent mayoral reshuffle, in which the mayors of major cities such as Ankara, Istanbul, Düzce, Balıkesir and Bursa resigned upon Erdoğan’s instruction, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “In democracy, mayors should come and go by elections, not by instructions.”
“We are currently experiencing the rehearsal [of the presidency]. After some time he [Erdoğan] will no longer see the need to elect mayors, he will simply appoint them,” he said
CHP is aiming to win the metropolitan mayoralties not currently governed by mayors from the party, Kılıçdaroğlu added, listing Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Balıkesir, Antalya, Mersin and Adana.