Kılıçdaroğlu eyes a younger, active and more ideological CHP

Kılıçdaroğlu eyes a younger, active and more ideological CHP

Serkan Demirtaş-ANKARA
Kılıçdaroğlu eyes a younger, active and more ideological CHP


The upcoming convention of the main opposition party will set a new chapter for the social democrats as they change both their internal structuring and campaign methods, its leader has said, adding that they will immediately launch preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections after the conclusion of this weekend’s party convention. 

“During and after this convention, we will prioritize the internal making of the party. We never had time do so until now. We will now work on ideological working methods, campaign means and the dissemination of projects and rhetoric we have developed to masses. For this, we will first launch an extensive education process for our young and women branches. We will push the button on Jan. 18,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) told Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on Jan. 14 on the eve of the general convention slated for this weekend. 

CHP İzmir Deputy Mustafa Balbay is likely to run for the leadership against Kılıçdaroğlu if he can garner 200 signatures from party delegates by Jan. 16. “It’s a democratic right. [I’ll] race if there are any candidates,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

Although the party’s performance received appreciation in last year’s twin elections because of its substantial election manifestos, the CHP failed to increase its votes significantly and thus caused frustration. “Not only us but non-CHP circles also agree that we had our homework in these elections. It was the first time that a political party’s election manifesto was copied. We have destroyed the perception that the CHP cannot produce concrete projects and claim to solve Turkey’s problems,” he said. 

When asked whether the party has found ways to increase its votes from current 25 to 30 percent, Kılıçdaroğlu said this has no mathematical formulation but requires performance. “You can only convince people with your attitudes, discourse and politics. Perhaps we should adopt ‘This order must change’ as our slogan nowadays. Because while we were hoping a better atmosphere, we realize that people cannot even breathe,” he said. 

CHP members must make a decision 

In an apparent warning to all CHP members, Kılıçdaroğlu urged them that he will have no mercy for those who only look after his or her personal career instead of the CHP’s achievements. “All the cadres of the party will work for the CHP’s victory. Those who work for their own expectations instead of the party will have no place here. The CHP must turn into a party of cause,” he stressed. 

The weekend’s convention will reshuffle the 60-seat party assembly through elections from which Kılıçdaroğlu will select a team to manage the party. He said his plan was to introduce more youth to the party assembly so that the party can better prepare its future as well. 

Opposition unable to raise its voice

On criticisms about the inefficiency of oppositional parties even in the most dramatic days of Turkey, Kılıçdaroğlu complained about the state of media, which “restricts the voice of the opposition.” He said, “I held my group meeting on Tuesday [Jan. 12] but the president spoke at the same time as me and all TV channels broadcast his speech live. My voice was not even heard.” 

With the conclusion of the convention, the party will immediately start working for the elections, he said, adding that this time they would visit almost every household in Turkey to create a more personal relationship with the voters. 

AKP-PKK in implicit deal 

Regarding the ongoing military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeast, Kılıçdaroğlu made an important argument claiming that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the PKK were in an implicit deal. 

“I believe there is an implicit agreement between the AKP government and the PKK. The current picture in Turkey only serves these two. The cost is, however, paid by civilians. As for the PKK, the death of 50 or 100 persons does not mean much. As for the AKP, it’s nourished from heroic displays that cause the decrease in the votes of the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party],” he said. 

He also said there were strong signs of closed-door negotiations between the AKP and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over the adoption of a presidential system and the introduction of autonomous regions. 

Turkey imports terror

Kılıçdaroğlu also commented on acts of terrorism that seem to be continuously rocking the country. “They say ‘We’ll finish it [terrorism]’. But if continues like this, the situation will reach different dimensions exceeding beyond Turkish borders.” This is where the AKP is wrong, Kılıçdaroğlu said. “Agents and spies from almost all countries are in the southeast and east [of Turkey].  Hence, ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] has been imported as well. Turkey has become a country that imports terrorism.”