Istanbul elections send message of democracy to world, says CHP head
The renewed Istanbul elections of June 23 sent a message to the world, restoring trust in Turkey’s democracy, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on June 25.
“[The world] had gave up on hopes of democracy in Turkey. They were saying there is repression and violence in Turkey, the [ruling party] was using all means of the state and that there is a partial judiciary. They thought that democracy will not exist in Turkey anymore. Regardless of all these, we sent a democracy message to the world. Hence, they watch us with astonishment,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at CHP’s parliament group meeting, in capital Ankara.
“Now the whole world is closely watching our culture and ambition of democracy. We said we can do this, because we have faith. We believed, we did and we made this come true,” he said.
Istanbul elections were about more than electing a mayor for Istanbul, according to the CHP head.
“The victor is democracy. The victor is the state of the Republic of Turkey. The victor is the 82 million [citizens], honoring the republic with democracy,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also emphasized CHP’s approach of taking an “embracing” tone, urging mayors not to discriminate against citizens on the basis of their religion, ethnic identity or gender.
“No one should worry: Turkey’s path has been cleared and will get clearer. Peace, abundance and democracy will come to Turkey,” he said.
“We seek to solve Turkey’s problems with knowledge and wisdom, not with quarrels.”
“This saga does not belong to the CHP. It belongs to those striving for democracy; it is the saga of Turkey. We will do great things, all together,” he added.
Istanbul elections had two results, according to Kılıçdaroğlu.
One was how the electors protected İmamoğlu, saying it was wrong that his mayoral certificate was revoked, he said.
“The public also gave the message that they want a neutral president,” he added.
The CHP head also said that his party is ready for a referendum to decide whether the president should be neutral or not, claiming an overwhelming majority will vote in favor of an impartial president.
“The citizens want democracy. They want service, peace and justice. The citizens want a stronger Turkey,” he said.