Three reservations from Kılıçdaroğlu against election alliance

Three reservations from Kılıçdaroğlu against election alliance

After the Bayram holidays, politics is heating up. One of the main discussion points of the coming term will be the topic of whether or not opposition parties act together against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In other words election alliances.

For a long time a probability has been mentioned regarding this topic. It is the scenario where main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) form a twosome block or by taking the Workers' Party (İP) and other small parties at their side forming an “anti-AKP block.” This alliance will be valid for especially the presidential election, but it is the local elections that come first.

The election alliance scenarios everybody had in their minds were discussed last week at the office of the chairman at CHP headquarters. The date was Aug. 3.

Acting İP chairman Hasan Basri Özbey met with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at CHP headquarters.

CHP deputy chairs Faruk Loğoğlu and Bülent Tezcan accompanied Kılıçdaroğlu while İP general secretary Serhan Bolluk was also present in the İP delegation. Because the verdict of the Ergenekon case was to be announced two days later, the public thought this meeting was about a joint decision of the two parties about Silivri. However, the information we gathered first from the CHP then from the İP administrations, this over-one-hour meeting was exclusively about the scenario of an election alliance of the CHP, MHP and İP.

Özbey, heading the İP delegation, after emphasizing that Turkey’s number one issue was “getting rid of the AKP government,” said this could only be achieved through the joint movement of the CHP, MHP and İP, which he called the “national forces.” Özbey defined the main principles of the union of forces as the principles of Atatürk and the republic’s acquisitions. He named his alliance proposal “National Government or Atatürk Revolutions Government Plan.”

Özbey said there was no such model in their minds as the three parties standing side by side and issuing an official statement; he also implied that CHP would be the umbrella organization of the alliance. The İP delegation emphasized a few times that they were not after “gaining seats or municipalities.” They also said that to launch the alliance, it was enough for CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu to make a public call to all national forces.

In his responsive speech Kılıçdaroğlu did not openly say “no,” he also confirmed that all social opposition should act toward the target of “getting rid of the AKP.” However, he has emphasized that it would be wrong to present this to the public as an election alliance. Thus, Kılıçdaroğlu seems to have closed the door to the search for an “alliance or a front.”

However, several concerns Kılıçdaroğlu brought up during the meeting were interpreted as the “three important reservations” of the CHP. The main concern expressed by Kılıçdaroğlu is the thought that a “front-type block would make the AKP unrivaled.”

In the fragment where the MHP was being discussed, the CHP leader has emphasized “the difficulty of trusting the current MHP administration for an alliance.” It is understood that behind this evaluation of his is the point that the MHP administration has always adopted a supporting position at the AKP’s most difficult times.

In the meeting, Kılıçdaroğlu made the assessment for the current MHP administration. “They have been the life buoy for the AKP; they have been their spare tire.”

The third reservation that Kılıçdaroğlu voiced during the meeting with the İP delegation is a subject that has a potential to be intensely debated both in the public and within CHP circles. The CHP leader has expressed in a highly diplomatic and subtle way his concern that the alliance model proposed by the İP may not contribute to the solution of the “Kurdish issue” considered as Turkey’s most important problem.

 “We, politicians, have a responsibility of generating solutions that would unite the east and the west of Turkey. We should create work that is suitable to this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. These words of his have created a perception both in the CHP and among İP executives that “Kılıçdaroğlu has the concern that a possible alliance model cannot present a solution proposal regarding the ‘Kurdish issue.’” İP sources, who confirmed that Kılıçdaroğlu expressed this reservation during the meeting, made an evaluation as such: “We guess that he does not have adequate information about our party program. We also want to win our Kurds. The principles we are to bring up should be principles to be adopted by all three parties anyway.”

While the CHP side interpreted the outcome of the meeting as, “Kılıçdaroğlu kindly shut the door to them,” the İP side regards the one-hour meeting just the opposite way. İP sources said they had conducted a similar meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu before the 2011 elections. “At that meeting, he had closed the door at the beginning by saying he would take the proposal to the relative authoritative bodies of his party. This time, his stance and his speech were much different. Moreover, we decided to continue our meetings and even one deputy each from the parties was selected to keep on meeting.

CHP deputy secretary Bülent Tezcan and of İP general secretary Serhan Bolluk will continue to meet each other.”

It seems that as the year 2014, when local elections and presidential elections are to be held, nears we will talk about alliance scenarios of political parties and reservations and concerns of other political parties about this more frequently.

Utku Çakırözer is a columnist for daily Cumhuriyet, in which this piece was published on Aug 12. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.