Istanbul deserves a social democrat mayor: CHP

Istanbul deserves a social democrat mayor: CHP

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul deserves a social democrat mayor: CHP

Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül returns to the CHP and is believed to be the party’s mayoral candidate for Istanbul. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

One of the world’s most beautiful and largest cities, Istanbul deserves to be ruled by a social democrat mayor to become “a global city,” the leader of the social democrat opposition party has suggested.

“Istanbul had lost its prestige in the last 20 years. It lost its identity. We have to allow Istanbul to stand up again. We believe that a social democrat municipality will change the appearance of Istanbul and will make it a beautiful global city,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on Nov. 9.

Sarıgül returns

Kılıçdaroğlu made these statements only hours after Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül returned to the CHP, who is believed to be the social democrat party’s mayoral candidate for Istanbul in the upcoming local elections in March 2014.

However, there remained work to be done before the announcement of the party’s candidate, Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding the party would first hold public opinion polls and take the pulse of the Istanbul party branches before making the final nominations. On the day Sarıgül joined the party, another powerful figure in the CHP, deputy leader Gürsel Tekin announced that he was willing to run for mayor in Istanbul. For Kılıçdaroğlu, Tekin’s move is part of a democratic process and needs to be respected by everyone. “It’s not a sign of internal rivalry,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu underlined that they had created synergy in the party and the era of internal clashes and resentments among the party members was now over. “We are focusing on only one thing: The country needs a better and contemporary government.”

On a current rift between the ruling party’s two most powerful men, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, the CHP leader said it was just a reflection of long-standing tension between the two. The rift erupted after Arınç had criticized the way the mixed-sex student housing debate was being conducted, particularly the situation that he was put in as the government spokesperson after rejecting the possibility of any legal arrangement on the issue.

“This situation has surely broken Arınç’s heart,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding the two men had different manners in politics as Arınç was known to be the voice of common sense on many controversial issues while Erdoğan was adopting a more hawkish position. Recalling that Erdoğan and Arınç portrayed different types of politicians, Kılıçdaroğlu added the latter’s moral sensitivity was higher than Erdoğan’s.