Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has criticized his party over its performance on the night of the June 24 elections, calling on CHPsupporters to not reflect their dismay over the June polls onto the upcoming 2019 local elections.
“I wish we had passed the test on June 24 and that our voters did not feel resentment toward us. If they believe we made mistakes, we accept that all the faults lie with us,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with online newspaper Duvar on Sept. 19.
“We did not pass the test on June 24,” he said.
The CHP had received 22.6 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections, while its presidential candidate, Muharrem İnce, received 30.6 percent of the votes, losing both races to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
On election night, İnce failed to appear before millions of opposition supporters after he conceded defeat, drawing widespread criticism from the party. Kılıçdaroğlu said supporters who came to the party headquarters to protest were “understandably angry.” “The supporters have a reason to be resentful.”
But Kılıçdaroğlu urged CHP supporters to not reflect their anger onto the local elections scheduled for 2019. “Not showing up at the polling stations will mean giving votes to the AKP,” he said, amid reports that some CHP supporters wanted to abstain from voting in the 2019 polls.
He stressed “the right candidates would be chosen for the local elections.”
“When the names of candidates are revealed, the electorate will see whether or not they would vote for them. Evaluate the candidates and go to the polls,” he said.
He said the CHP was seeking candidates who can receive votes from people with different political views.
“The CHP’s candidate will not be biased and will not surrender the city to a rentier understanding. The candidate will prioritize women, the youth and children. The CHP will not partake in cronyism; it will provide service to everyone, regardless of the party they support,” he said.
When asked about possible alliances for the elections, Kılıçdaroğlu said “it isn’t possible under the current legislation, but there can be close contact [with other parties].”
He said there would be an alliance between voters instead of an alliance between parties.
He also criticized Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for “smearing the CHP” by claiming the CHP would enter the elections in alliance with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which the MHP leader affiliates with the illegal PKK.
“Their efforts to make us look like we’re in close contact with terrorist organizations are shameful,” he said, adding that the MHP wanted to “benefit from portraying the CHP as a party supporting the PKK.”
Kılıçdaroğlu also expressed his support to workers arrested after protesting over labor conditions at the construction site of the third airport in Istanbul, which is scheduled to open next month.
“The workers are demanding to get paid. They want to be paid via banks not in person. This shows that the firms are evading tax. Did the Finance Ministry do anything to this end? They [workers] also demand their work environment, safety and conditions be improved. Did the Labor Ministry act upon this?” he said.