The CHP and the reality of two wings
ŞÜKRÜ KÜÇÜKŞAHİNA serious portion of the members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) party assembly meeting on March 4 demanded a particular meeting focusing on the Constitution/citizenship issues.
The party statute requires the demand of a minimum of 11 members; however, because those who have signed have reached 35, it looks as if the meeting will be held.
It is a separate topic whether the meeting will be held or not, however, I think it is more important to look into the intention and the identity of the signatories. In order to analyze that intention and identity, let’s go back one week.
In other words, during the press conference organized by Muharrem İnce, who has the power to represent the whole parliamentary group in his capacity as deputy group chairman, the negotiation process with Öcalan was discussed. There were 17 CHP deputies present at the press conference showing their support for İnce. The press conference itself, together with what has been experienced in the party assembly, exposes a reality within the party that can no longer be hidden.
Coincidence or not, those deputies standing behind İnce were representatives of what is called the “ultranationalist” wing in the CHP; also, the press release demonstrated such a stance. Those deputies who define themselves as “reformists” were uncomfortable with that, because they were not called to that meeting and according to them, this exclusionist attitude of the administration was nothing new. Also, the press release was in contradiction with CHP views.
In this context, the reformists who have been showing indications for a while that they would be acting collectively from now on have been able to combine two moves. The first one was the initiative they launched before CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu. It was about the 30-signature proposal to be submitted to Parliament for the purpose of establishing a Parliamentary Commission on Researching Social Issues, which they believed was being kept at the office of the deputy group chairman intentionally. Their result was that the proposal in question be processed.
The second one was that they asked for a specific party assembly meeting on the grounds that the words of Muharrem İnce during the press conference had created confusion.
The message of these two moves can be read as this: “The ultranationalist wing, because they have reached an organized structure, have a louder voice despite their fewer numbers. It is inevitable now that we should have a louder voice also through the same means.” Actually, I kind of feel the existence of the concern behind this message that Kılıçdaroğlu was standing closer to the ultranationalists lately.
It should not be forgotten that when the 89-year-old history of the CHP is reviewed, it is not possible to see one party; the eras of Atatürk, İnönü, Ecevit and Baykal all seem like a different party.
In other words, for some, the CHP is a constantly renewing party, for others it is prolific.
However, the CHP has been able to show some serious presence in multi-party eras as long as it was able to accommodate different factions under its umbrella, from the left or right wing; during those eras where there was only one voice, it experienced a loss of blood.
Actually, it is highly probable to assume that while Kılıçdaroğlu was making lists for deputies and the party assembly, he acted with this concern and absolutely believed that he would manage such a multiple structure. However the management style he has been engaged in, some find it very successful up to now; there are some who talk about a cacophony rather than harmony because he cannot conduct the orchestra well.