CHP leader defiant against dissidents calling for his resignation
During a press conference on Aug. 13, the neo-nationalists called Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to resign, arguing that he had taken the party away from its fundamental pillars by nominating Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. AA PhotoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has responded defiantly to a group of party dissidents who called on him to resign due to the results of the presidential election, which they labeled a fiasco.
“The CHP’s grassroots is uneasy with their roaring. I should state with sadness that I am the one who carried most of these colleagues to politics. If a mistake is to be sought, then the mistake should be sought with me as the person who brought them [to the party],” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with daily Cumhuriyet.
The interview was published Aug. 13, a day after a group of dissidents, known with their neo-nationalistic tendencies, urged Kılıçdaroğlu to resign and hold an extraordinary convention. The six lawmakers led by Ankara deputy Emine Ülker Tarhan, who was favored by the neo-nationalist camp within the party to be nominated as the party’s presidential candidate, held a joint press conference. The neo-nationalists argue Kılıçdaroğlu had taken the party away from its fundamental pillars by nominating Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu as a joint presidential candidate with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
“They are not the ones who brought me to this position, so there is no reason to fulfil their demand. They are even far away from understanding this simple reality although there are jurists among them,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in response to the call for resignation.
“I’m delivering an open call to them. In our party’s internal regulations, the way to gather a convention is written. If they are strong enough, then they will encounter me through collecting the required number of signatures. Let them bring the signatures and I will immediately gather the convention. Let’s see how many supporters they have in the party,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in response to the group’s second demand, holding an extraordinary convention.
CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan made clear on Aug. 12 that the group needs to collect 586 signatures from the party delegates in order to be able to call for an extraordinary convention. The CHP currently has 1170 delegates.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s decision to nominate Cairo-born İhsanoğlu, who has dedicated a large part of his life to promoting Islam, drew fierce criticism from some diehard secularists within the CHP, with several refusing to sign his formal nomination.
İhsanoğlu is a diplomat and academic who was at the helm of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for nine years until 2014 and worked closely with President-elect, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government during that time.
Erdoğan won the elections with 51.65 percent of the vote, while İhsanoğlu won 38.57 percent of the vote, receiving even less votes than the sum of the CHP and MHP votes that were received in the March 30 local election.