CHP leader lends conditional support to PM’s call to keep president out of debates

CHP leader lends conditional support to PM’s call to keep president out of debates

CHP leader lends conditional support to PM’s call to keep president out of debates

DHA Photo

The leader of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) has given an affirmative response to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu for acting in line with political decency during campaigning in the run-up to the Nov. 1 elections, but made clear they would keep President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan out of political debate only if he maintains constitutionally required impartiality. 

“OK, we are in,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu briefly said late on Sept. 21, in response to Davutoğlu’s call to release a joint declaration against “terror,” not polluting the environment and not infringing on the privacy of each other’s families during the campaign.

Still, Kılıçdaroğlu voiced his disappointment over the lack of any reaction or action by Davutoğlu when media outlets released fabricated reports about his family.

As he delivered a speech at a mass gathering in Ankara where his Justice and Development Party (AKP) presented its candidates for the Nov. 1 snap elections, in addition to those on which Kılıçdaroğlu agreed, Davutoğlu also urged political party leaders to keep Erdoğan out of the election campaign, while still vowing to absolutely defend the president.

“Come, let’s conduct political competition within the rules of political politeness. Let’s criticize each other but let’s not trade insults. Let’s not turn families and private life into part of the political competition. Let’s particularly keep the presidential office, which represents our entire nation, out of political debates,” Davutoğlu said earlier on Sept. 21.

Yet, Kılıçdaroğlu has conditioned his consent to this particular call.

“We are parting with Mr. Davutoğlu on criticism of the president. We don’t have any problem anyhow as long as Mr. President maintains his impartiality. His being a topic for debate is because he has left aside impartiality and he held election rallies by displaying a stance openly in favor of a certain party,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that Erdoğan held rallies in favor Davutoğlu and his AKP in the run-up to the June 7 parliamentary elections. 

The CHP leader once more called on the president to not violate the presidential oath he took last year and said, “While saying, ‘Let’s not make the president a topic of criticism,’ it would be much more chic if Mr. Davutoğlu also says of the president that ‘The president had sworn upon his honor and dignity to abide by the constitution with impartiality. A president should be attentive to this.’”