İhsanoğlu feels the heat of politics

İhsanoğlu feels the heat of politics

İhsanoğlu feels the heat of politics

Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu shows the cover of a magazine while walking along Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue, July 6. AA Photo

Joint presidential candidate of Turkey’s two major parties – the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – has begun feeling the heat of the political stage as he continues his presidential campaign, while arguing that the conditions for competition are unequal.

Although the race for the presidential elections is being carried in “unequal, disproportionate” conditions, presidential candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu said he still vows to achieve success at the polls, referring to the support late President Turgut Özal received when he was campaigning.

Citing that state facilities, such as planes, helicopters and party opportunities are not being provided for his presidential race, he said, “We know we are competing in unequal circumstances. But there, the will of the people and God is superior to all of this. Late Turgut Özal faced similar issues when he ran,” İhsanoğlu told reporters in Aydın.

The state opposed Özal’s presidency at that time, İhsanoğlu said, but the “people brought Özal to the head of the government,” İhsanoğlu added.

İhsanoğlu also visited a house-museum in Aydın, which once belonged to late Adnan Menderes, who is frequently honored by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his rally speeches.

People ask for change, a president who embraces all, İhsanoğlu said, noting that citizens are fed up with “polarization, conflict and living in fear.”

İhsanoğlu recalled presidential traditions of countries such as Austria, Germany, Poland and Italy, saying they are not elected among high ranking politicians. “Those countries have a parliamentarian system. Parliament is the place for politicians,” he said, adding the executive floor is Parliament.

‘Mon cher’

It was not İhsanoğlu, a senior diplomat and academic, but CHP Deputy Chair Faruk Loğoğlu, also a veteran career diplomat, who responded to presidential hopeful Erdoğan’s ridiculing of his main opponent in the elections, referring to him as “mon cher.”

“They ask a candidate whether he will address the issue of roads [construction] if elected. He replies he has nothing to do with roads ... They are ‘mon cher’ but we are servants,” Erdoğan told thousands of supporters in a rally in the eastern province of Erzurum on July 6. In Turkish, the French phrase “mon cher” (“my dear” in English) is a term of ridicule that Erdoğan has used in the past to describe retired Turkish diplomats.     

Speaking at a press conference at Parliament, Loğoğlu suggested Erdoğan does not know the meaning of “mon cher.”

“If he knew what it meant, he wouldn’t speak like this,” Loğoğlu said, explaining how comfortable İhsanoğlu is when he meets with the electorate and does not surround himself with security guards, unlike Erdoğan.

“Which one is ‘mon cher,’ and which one is a man of the people?” Loğoğlu asked, “Shame on those who think the way Erdoğan does.”

Meanwhile, Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş, also a presidential hopeful, slammed Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for declaring his candidacy “illegitimate.” Bahçeli had also called on the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to refuse Demirtaş’s application for candidacy.

“I especially wait for Mr. İhsanoğlu to respond to that. I am still waiting, but he is keeping silent, while a leader of one of the political parties that nominated him says, ‘Their candidacy is not legitimate,’ referring to us,” Demirtaş said on July 6, speaking in Mardin.