CHP leader responds to criticism over MP list: All candidates are precious
Hande Fırat - ANKARA
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has defended criticized changes in the party’s lawmaker lists for the upcoming elections, saying some figures within the CHP who are close to him have also not been presented for parliament.
“All our candidates are very precious. It was of course difficult to make a choice. Whatever list we prepare, there would naturally be a discussion. We understand it,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet on May 22.
His comments came after the CHP did not present 58 of its current lawmakers as candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections, prompting suggestions that the new list was prepared exclusively by Kılıçdaroğlu and excluded lawmakers close to the party’s presidential candidate, Muharrem İnce. İnce has twice challenged Kılıçdaroğlu for the party leadership in the past.
“This discussion [that names close to İnce have been excluded] is completely wrong. There are some friends who are close to me and have also not found a place on the list. In the end, we need a change of blood. I do not find it right to define lawmakers according to who they are close to,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“We have to work as hard as possible to ensure İnce’s election as president. This is the responsibility that history has given us,” he added.
“I believe İnce will prepare a very strong cadre [for the cabinet] after he is elected [president] and will save Turkey from the current turmoil,” Kılıçdaroğlu added, responding İnce’s statement that he himself will make the list of the ministers.
The CHP leader also responded to criticisms that left-leaning lawmakers have been removed from the candidate list, saying “the CHP is a social-democratic party.”
“Neither left or right is under the monopoly of one person. People have opinions and they share these opinions in a free environment. I do not find it right to make that distinction. It would be unfair to our friends who are on the list,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the media for approaching lawmaker changes in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the CHP differently. “The media is prejudiced against the opposition … When they make a change it is called a ‘change of blood.’ When we make a change it is called ‘chopping,’” he said.
He also criticized the AKP’s candidate list for including a number of lawmakers who have visited U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, a former ally of the government who is now widely believed to have been behind the July 2016 coup attempt.
“This is interesting. It indicates the inconsistency of the AKP in its fight against [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
He also criticized the recent legal indictment filed against CHP lawmaker Eren Erdem, who is among the names left out of the CHP’s parliamentary list, saying “it is a shame for Turkey’s democracy.”