Main opposition’s motto in upcoming convention: ‘Unity and fraternity’

Main opposition’s motto in upcoming convention: ‘Unity and fraternity’

Okan Konuralp ANKARA
Main opposition’s motto in upcoming convention: ‘Unity and fraternity’

DHA Photo

Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has adopted “Unity and Fraternity Convention” as the main slogan of its upcoming extraordinary convention on Sept. 5 and 6.

“Let the convention have a theme which will refute claims of an approaching purge, and which will embrace both the party itself and all of Turkey,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, promising that after the convention he will not initiate an "internal purge" of his rivals and their supporters.

CHP executives will accelerate logistical work for the convention after obtaining final consent from Kılıçdaroğlu.

Mustafa Sarıgül, the former mayor of Şişli who ran against current Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş as the CHP's candidate in the March 30 local elections, former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) politician Mansur Yavaş, who was selected as the CHP’s candidate for the Ankara mayoral position but lost by a small margin, and Mehmet Bekaroğlu, former deputy chair of the now-dissolved People’s Voice Party (HSP), have all been reportedly invited by Kılıçdaroğlu to become new members of the Party Assembly at the upcoming convention.

As of Aug. 26, Bekaroğlu confirmed that he has been mulling a proposal personally conveyed by Kılıçdaroğlu to join the party. Bekaroğlu cited “piousness, the regime and the presidency,” as some of the key items that they discussed during their lengthy meeting, which he labeled as “productive.” However, he said he had not yet made his final decision about joining the CHP and added that he would not attend the convention.

Meanwhile, party executives did not rule out the idea of having a woman wearing a headscarf as a candidate for membership in the Party Assembly.

In Ankara, Kılıçdaroğlu’s rival for leadership, the party’s former deputy parliamentary group chair, Muharrem İnce, visited the CHP’s provincial branch on Aug. 26.

During his visit, he recalled that Kılıçdaroğlu stated in a recent interview with Hürriyet that he would quit his seat if the party lost votes in next year’s parliamentary elections.

"In 2010, speaking of the 2011 [parliamentary] elections,  Mr. Chairperson already said, ‘I will quit if I cannot bring in a significant increase in votes’ ... Nobody should deceive anybody. Nobody feels hopeful about us; nobody believes that we will come to power because the CHP is not consistent, doesn’t have self-confidence and it is not determined," İnce said.

“No hope or prime minister can come out of this structure. I haven’t heard him saying at rallies, ‘I will be the prime minister, and I will rule the country,’ because he doesn’t have such self-confidence and such assertion. When this assertion doesn’t exist, hope doesn’t exist either,” he added.

In his own remarks, Kılıçdaroğlu said he “personally took a risk” within days of the nomination of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu as the party's joint presidential candidate with the MHP. The decision to nominate Cairo-born İhsanoğlu, who has dedicated a large part of his life to promoting Islam, drew fierce criticism from some hard-line secularists within the CHP, with several refusing to sign his formal nomination.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the presidential election in the first round on Aug. 10, winning 51.65 percent of the vote. İhsanoğlu received 38.57 percent of the vote, fewer votes than the sum of the CHP and MHP votes received in the March 30 local election.

The defeat in the presidential election eventually led to the extraordinary convention.