CHP leader says in-house tension result of democracy, not chaos
Hande Fırat - ANKARA
Internal discussions over the selection process of mayoral candidates are just a result of democracy and not a reflection of an in-house chaos, the leader of the main opposition party has said, criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for distancing himself and Turkey away from democracy.
“We are trying to be as careful as possible when naming mayoral candidates for big cities like Istanbul and İzmir. Our in-house discussions are being reflected as crisis or chaos at the CHP. There is no chaos, but an environment of a free discussion,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told the daily Hürriyet in an interview on Jan. 30. “Since when has democracy been described as chaos?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked.
The CHP has been in a longstanding debate especially over who should be nominated as the party’s candidates for Istanbul and İzmir as well as some other big provinces and districts. Many senior CHP officials, including current İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu and Istanbul provincial organization head Canan Kaftancıoğlu, have openly slammed the party leadership over their choices of candidates.
Kaftancıoğlu had announced her resignation earlier this week, but later withdrew her resignation, openly revealing internal party disturbance with Kılıçdaroğlu’s management of the process.
Kılıçdaroğlu, however, calls this process purely democratic in which all party members can freely voice their thoughts. Comparing the process at the CHP with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Kılıçdaroğlu said “It’s called democracy when all the candidates are chosen by one man but is called chaos when all candidates are selected after free discussions. This is what we are disturbed of.”
Brewing a democratic culture is one of the objectives of the CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu said, challenging Erdoğan’s statements about the party. “Dictators cannot bring about democracy to their people. They impose their own ideas. This is the point Erdoğan has arrived at. The CHP, throughout history, has always shown respect to election results,” he said.
“Perhaps, he does not remember or does not want to remember. It was the CHP that supported lifting a ban on his political career,” he said. “He is not even the last person who can teach us democracy.”