CHP leader says party ready for snap elections
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is ready for snap elections under any circumstances, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Dec. 19, adding that snap elections would only be held if the circumstances were favorable for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“[The decision to hold snap elections] will be made by one man. He will say whether or not we will hold snap elections, then the bureaucracy will act on it and snap elections will be held,” Kılıçdaroğlu told private broadcaster NTV, answering the question on whether he anticipated snap elections.
Turkey will hold three elections in 2019 when the constitutional changes come into effect. Kılıçdaroğlu said the circumstances to hold snap elections would only arise if the AKP considered it in favor of its interests.
“Snap elections are not a process decided by public opinion, or that are anticipated by public opinion and become inevitable. We are living in the preliminary period for a one-man regime. So a man will decide, a man who sits in a palace will order to hold snap elections. Nobody will object to it and snap elections will be held,” he said, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“But if you are asking whether we are ready, then we are ready,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
He added that the AKP would only call for snap elections if it anticipated an economic problem.
“The economy is not very bright. It is going down. The current deficit is rising, unemployment is rising, the budget deficit is rising and inflation is rising,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
CHP and Interior Minister engage in row over accusations
The row between main CHP and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has escalated further as Kılıçdaroğlu accused the minister of malpractice, arguing that Soylu had abused his power to slander CHP mayors under the influence of President Erdoğan.
“He acts this way to win the favor of the [presidential] palace and to consolidate his chair. The motivation behind him discharging our mayor is in order to receive favors from the palace,” he said, referring to Erdoğan’s presidential office as “the palace.”
Tensions between Kılıçdaroğlu and the interior minister escalated after the Interior Ministry suspended CHP Istanbul Ataşehir district mayor Battal İlgezdi on Dec. 8 over corruption allegations.
Kılıçdaroğlu slammed the Interior Minister on the subject, arguing that the investigation was over previous cases that the mayor had already been acquitted on.
“On the matters the Interior Minister is concerned with, the verdicts were for non-prosecution. If they were not, we would not have said anything. A matter he had previously been acquitted on has been investigated again,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“The Council of State had ruled not to investigate the matter. Mr. Battal conveyed the file to me and there was a court order. How could I not be convinced? The judiciary’s decision was final,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
“What is unfortunate here is the individual occupying the presidential post is using the state as an instrument for blackmail and pressure in order to take his own personal revenge by directly giving orders to the judiciary and the bureaucracy,” he added, accusing president Erdoğan.