CHP’s presidential candidate İnce visits İYİ Party leader Akşener
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce met with İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener as part of his bid to visit all presidential candidates ahead of campaigning for the snap June 24 election.
İnce and Akşener met at the İYİ Party’s headquarters in a half-hour meeting on May 8.
The meeting came as İnce announced on May 6 that he wants to meet all presidential candidates for a courtesy visit including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the joint candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP), and jailed former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş.
Erdoğan accepted İnce’s visit offer on May 7, saying he “could receive him at the AKP building.”
“I, as a party leader, think this would be more correct. We will respond to this offer soon and we will accept him at our party,” he said in a press conference in Ankara.
İnce responded to Erdoğan’s statement that he would receive the CHP’s candidate at the AKP headquarters, saying jokingly that “Erdoğan is apparently afraid that I will get used to the presidential palace.”
İnce also plans to visit Demirtaş at Edirne Prison, saying he will appeal to the Justice Ministry to secure permission for a meeting in prison.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said on May 8 that the visit will be allowed.
“Of course it will be allowed. It is a humanitarian subject,” Gül told reporters in parliament on May 8, daily Hürriyet reported.
Demirtaş has been in prison since November 2016 and is being tried in a number of cases, including on charges of “leading a terrorist organization.”
İnce met the conservative Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu on May 7, saying the visit aims “to express their wish that the election is held in an environment of fair play.”
He also reiterated his call for a televised debate between all five candidates ahead of the election, adding that Karamollaoğlu has agreed on such debate.
“We both want our nation to listen to all candidates on TV channels,” İnce said on May 7.
Erdoğan, however, rejected the call, saying he does not want to debate on TV.
“We do not want anybody to take advantage of our presence,” he said.