Yavaş also in a winning mood

Yavaş also in a winning mood

ŞÜKRÜ KÜÇÜKŞAHİN skucuksahin@hurriyet.com.tr
The new year looks as if it will be a tough year for Turkey in all respects.

It is indefinite and full of doubts where this major crisis that erupted after the corruption and bribery operation will end and what shape the justice system will take.

Also, in three months’ time, voters will judge all of what has happened at the ballot box. Apparently, this one will be the toughest election the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has ever experienced. The reason is that, given the unease of the governing circles and what has been reflected in the public, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) is entering the local elections almost in all big cities with the “will to win” for the first time, and this morale has also been transferred to its grassroots.

Open-ended offer from AKP

Without seeing the welcome for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Sunday, it was already known the CHP had become a stronger opponent in Istanbul with Mustafa Sarıgül.

The atmosphere in Istanbul can be said to have also spilled over to Ankara after Mansur Yavaş’s candidacy was confirmed. I had an opportunity to chat with Yavaş who is known to Ankara residents for being a veteran in local governance, not prone to conflict and industrious. I had the impression that he is ambitious and strong with high morale. Because he believes he will win, he is not concerned that his opponent is Melih Gökçek; he sees it as an advantage that he knows him very well.

He updates his words; he tests his data and records them in his memory. He has decided to stay away from fights and offensive discourse during campaigning. In the event that there is a need to respond, he has decided to do it politely.

It is obvious he will not use the same style as Gökçek.

His answer is short and precise as to the question of why he has gone to the CHP: “The AKP first offered me the candidacy of Yenimahalle. This should not be a secret to Melih Gökçek. When the candidacy from the CHP was mentioned, the AKP administration renewed their offer. First they offered Çankaya, then Etimesgut. In the end, we arrived at the point of ‘whichever district you want,’ but I never thought of the AKP. I rejected all of their offers. Also, with the approval of nationalist and conservative voters, I opted for the CHP.”

Kılıçdaroğlu’s concern

Yavaş said he would particularly observe the sensitiveness of the CHP grassroots in his discourse, adding that he would spend half of the day at CHP headquarters and the other half in his office in Balgat so that he can try and be accessible to everyone.

He is quite content with the feedback he has received from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). He believes he has the support of a wide spectrum of the right from the Democrat Party (DP) to the Motherland Party (ANAP).

Yavaş is expecting a serious amount of votes from AKP voters also. He is about to form quite a number of teams made up of names that he considers will be effective in the grassroots of all these parties.
He is evaluating the recent surveys as “very good.” He is also content with the attitude of the CHP administration, primarily its leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

The CHP’s Manisa candidate, Özgür Özel, is a young and just as his last name implies, a “special” (özel) deputy for CHP. Well, this Özel requested Kılıçdaroğlu bring along Sarıgül, Yavaş and İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu to Manisa.

Kılıçdaroğlu said OK for Sarıgül and Kocaoğlu, adding: “It could be misinterpreted that Mansur Yavaş is being brought to a city where the MHP is strong. He might be uncomfortable politically. Let me ask him and get back to you.” Last week, Yavaş visited Kılıçdaroğlu, who conveyed Özel’s request to him. Yavaş said, “I agree with you.”

He also emphasized this: “It is of special significance that you are demonstrating this sensitivity on behalf of me. I want you to know that I am especially gratified.”

Şükrü Küçükşahin is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on Jan 2. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.