Congress maneuvers fuel storm within opposition

Congress maneuvers fuel storm within opposition

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Congress maneuvers fuel storm within opposition

Nihat Matkap says Kılıçdaroğlu’s objective for the Feb 26 convention is ‘to open debate on all the provisions of the statute so as to make it a more democratic one.’ AA photo

The main opposition grappled with a fresh row yesterday as party leadership announced that next month’s convention scheduled to amend the party statute was Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s initiative and had nothing to do with dissidents’ application.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chairman Nihat Matkap said a second convention could still be scheduled to meet the demand of the intra-party opposition. “It will absolutely not exceed the 45 days” that party rules require, he told reporters.

Calling the dispute a “family matter,” Matkap voiced hope that “our colleagues [the dissidents] may re-assess their position if they see that the amendments they request materialize in this process.”

Kılıçdaroğlu’s objective for the Feb. 26 convention is “to open debate on all the provisions of the statute so as to make it a more democratic one,” Matkap said, adding that a “preparatory commission” would be set up to look into all amendment proposals ahead of the congress.


The question of who requests the convention is critical as it allows the callers to determine the agenda of the gathering. The dissidents, who Jan. 18 submitted 362 signatures demanding the congress, had listed a series of demands aimed at curbing Kılıçdaroğlu’s powers and easing the rules for forcing a chairmanship election.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s move is seen as a counter-maneuver to forestall the dissidents’ demands by proposing some democratic amendments in the statute. However, he is not likely to heed calls for curbing the chairman’s powers and reducing the number of signatures required for holding an election for a new chairman. 

Earlier in the day, the dissidents sent a formal letter to the CHP threatening legal action if the party fails to meet their call for a convention with the specific agenda they had drawn up. They warned that a failure to heed their application could result in the party being transferred to a trustee as in the recent case of the Felicity Party (SP).

CHP lawmaker İsa Gök, a high-profile dissident, accused the party leadership of trampling on the law and described their maneuver as “a heavy insult.” 

In another twist, CHP member Savcı Sayan rekindled allegations that the sex tape that forced ex-chairman Deniz Baykal to step down in May 2010 was part of a broader plan to remold the CHP which involved party officials.
Speaking on the Beyaz TV channel, Sayan, a Baykal loyalist, claimed the business partner of an incumbent CHP deputy chair had a prior knowledge of the tape. 

Sayan described CHP deputy chairman Gürsel Tekin as a central figure shaping developments in the wake of the scandal and claimed Kılıçdaroğlu’s chairmanship was only his “Plan B.” Tekin’s “Plan A” was thwarted by the clique of then secretary-general Önder Sav, but it is still valid and could be soon realized, he said.

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