Main opposition welcome Şişli Mayor Sarıgül before official joining
CHP deputy head Adnan Keskin (L) and Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül are seen waving to the journalists after a meeting at Şişli Municipality. AA photoThe Republican People’s Party (CHP) welcomed Mustafa Sarıgül, the mayor of the Istanbul district of Şişli, in a closed-door meeting Oct. 31, sharing warm messages afterwards implying he will join the party officially soon.
CHP deputy head Adnan Keskin met Sarıgül at the Şişli municipality at noon Oct. 31, accompanied by CHP Istanbul branch head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı.
“I came here to celebrate the shining star Mustafa Sarıgül’s decision to return home,” Keskin said speaking to the press after the 40-minute meeting, in which Sarıgül was expected to hand in a petition to rejoin the party.
Talking with Salıcı and Keskin, Sarıgül said, “If my God will permit, we will embrace 100 percent of our citizens with our head Adnan Keskin and our chairman Kemal Kılıçadroğlu.”
Sarıgül was expected to submit a petition to return to the party, in order to become the CHP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate in the March 2014 local elections.
“This is the day of a great meeting and Mustafa Sarıgül’s rejoining the Republican People’s Party on the way to the Republican People’s Party’s power,” Salıcı said.
“We are not politicians who are interested in details, procedures, who invited who or who went where,” he added.
The return of Sarıgül is expected to be discussed at the party’s main administrative board, before being discussed and voted on at the upcoming CHP party assembly, which will be held on Nov. 3.
Sarıgül, the popular mayor of Şişli since 1999, who once initiated a campaign to topple then-party leader Deniz Baykal and was eventually expelled from the party, is considered by many as the only figure likely to garner the most votes in Istanbul against any Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate in the March 2014 local elections.
After weeks of uncertainty over his candidacy – mainly because of the resistance to his rejoining from inside the CHP – it looks like there are only bureaucratic procedures between Sarugül and the party he worked with for years.
By saying if a presumptive nominee is extraordinarily ahead of the others in the polls then she or he is the candidate, Kılıçdaroğlu sought to end the opposing opinions against Sarıgül. In his messages, Sarıgül vowed to embrace all parts of society, addressing all citizens independently of their parties.
“I give the good news to everybody in Turkey, in the world, who wants democracy, peace, an understanding that doesn’t have ‘other,’ that says both veiled and unveiled are ours, that says both Ramadan and Muharrem [the Alevi holy month] are sacred,” he said, promising to end “the period of hatred and fighting in Istanbul and starting a period of peace, freedom and democracy.”
The CHP’s discipline committee expelled Sarıgül from the party in 2005 on the grounds due to an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the then CHP leader Deniz Baykal. Sarıgül opened a case against his expulsion, but the committee’s decision was eventually confirmed.