No traitors in CHP, only weak personalities

No traitors in CHP, only weak personalities

Some of the mayors from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) went to the Democratic Left Party (DSP) when they were not named as candidates. As I spoke to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu yesterday, he also pointed out almost all of the candidates who went to DSP were in centers where CHP is quite strong.

It is obvious CHP, for the first time, is challenging ruling Justice and Development (AKP) in big cities and its grassroots are ambitious to win this election. Despite this, it might have caught your attention, even though the anger toward those who have resigned or who have gone to other parties is great, nobody calls them “traitors.”

Kılıçdaroğlu did the same; he said he was very sorry. He also said, “I really do not want to say it, but I will go ahead and say they do not have a strong sense of character.”

 “We thank those who have served one term or 20 years. But we want to renew [our party], select young candidates and introduce a new wave of excitement. Instead of respecting this vision, it is very wrong to adopt a stance such as, ‘That seat belongs to me as long as I live.’ This attitude is not ideological; it is far from being loyal to your party.”

Kılıçdaroğlu was additionally angry because he regarded these resignations as “If I am here CHP exists; if I am not here, there is no CHP.” But he strongly believes the voters will be able to see this.
Despite that, he is thankful to Çankaya Mayor Bülent Tanık. He said, “This is what a political party does. What did we do? We replaced him with a young, very-well equipped candidate who we believe will be successful.”

There were many others, primarily Kadıköy and Beşiktaş, who have adopted the same stance, Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding he has thanked all of them. He has not given a name, but he is also reproachful to Hakan Tartan who first lost İzmir’s metropolitan candidacy and then İzmir’s Konak and then went to DSP.

 In our conversation yesterday, Kılıçdaroğlu also mentioned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s making a “Hello Fatih” call to a major TV station so the news about Mustafa Sarıgül was not aired.

 He said he will run the recording during his Parliamentary group meeting, saying, “That means there is serious panic. But it is not Kadir Topbaş who panicking; it is the prime minister. In other words, it is very obvious who the mayor is and who the puppet is. It is both saddening and interesting for Topbaş to put himself in this situation.”

Pro-Gezi candidates

Not only with Kılıçdaroğlu, but also during my other chats with CHP administrators who were among the decision makers I have seen other details.

There are many examples, but let’s start with Maltepe. Even though the current mayor is a successful one, because he was not very active during the Mafiosi struggle experienced in Gülsuyu, that factor was noted.

CHP expects all of its mayors to be active in these types of popular incidents and if there is service to be given to people, they should do it swiftly. The reason for Ali Kılıç to be selected candidate by unanimous vote of the Party Assembly is believed to be this.

A similar example goes for Aylin Kotil, the CHP Beyoğlu candidate.

Her stance during the Gezi demonstrations, because she was the one who made the most number of house visits during the nomination of the candidate process, the fact she had a rising trend in surveys opened Kotil’s way, and interestingly, the CHP administration has raised the bar in Beyoğlu.

Meanwhile, the CHP administration is expecting Bakırköy Mayor Ateş Ünal Erzen to take back his resignation. Because they care about even “one vote” on March 30, they will develop policies and propaganda for mayors who are running for office from other parties.

Şükrü Küçükşahin is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on Feb 19. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.