Erdoğan to İnce: Will you quit if you lose?
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again taken aim at Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP), saying he should quit politics if he does not win in the upcoming snap presidential election.
“Mr. Muharrem, will you quit if you do not come first?” Erdoğan said at a rally in the southwestern province of Denizli on June 10.
His comment came a day after İnce brought together thousands of supporters for a late-night rally in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district, in which he challenged Erdoğan to appear in a televised debate with him.
“If I am not elected I will quit politics. But I have just one condition: That Erdoğan attends a live television debate with me,” İnce said on June 8.
Erdoğan slammed İnce’s night-rally, complaining that the crowd there chanted “thief Erdoğan.”
“He made his grassroots chant ‘thief Erdoğan’ in Kadıköy. You are impertinent. Do you have any evidence?” he said.
He also recalled a recent court order in which CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was sentenced to pay 185,000 Turkish Liras in compensation for “insulting” Erdoğan, after Kılıçdaroğlu revealed that the president and some of his relatives transferred large amounts of money into offshore accounts in the Isle of Man.
“The court found you guilty in Isle of Man case. On June 24, my nation will bury you in the ballot boxes,” Erdoğan said.
He also accused the main opposition CHP of being riven by inner-party struggles, saying İnce’s candidacy was a result of competition between CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and İnce.
As İnce has twice unsuccessfully challenged Kılıçdaroğlu for the party leadership in previous CHP congresses, Erdoğan referred to İnce’s previous criticism of Kılıçdaroğlu in which he said the CHP leader could not bring the party a majority in parliament.
“Mr. Muharrem is not even an apprentice. He gets angry [when I say this]. But his [CHP] leader is also like this,” Erdoğan said.