What's really happening in CHP

16 Şubat 2024 Cuma

"Some significant figures within CHP secretly wish for Istanbul to be lost! Indeed, many who united against Kılıçdaroğlu are now dissatisfied with the situation. But upon examination, the source of the dissatisfaction stems from not selecting mayoral candidates who are favorable to them…"

I heard this from a person who has been breathing the corridors of CHP for many years. What a saddening claim it was. In the founding party of the country, some desired to plunge Istanbul back into a system of plunder just to sit in the desired chair.

CHP is experiencing an election process where grievances, accusations, and resignations are discussed more than promises. Whichever faction within the party I talk to, their biggest common ground is dissatisfaction. The more bitter aspect is that the source of this unhappiness is related to the balance of power within the party, not with the country.

So, what's really happening?

As you know, Gürsel Tekin, one of CHP's prominent figures, resigned from his party. Tekin wanted to be the mayor of the Kadıköy district in Istanbul but was not nominated. He announced his departure with harsh words.

Naturally, this question awaited an answer: If Gürsel Tekin had been nominated, would he have made such harsh criticisms of CHP? I inquired and essentially heard the following:

"I've been in CHP for 40 years. I've never had a problem with nominations. I've always remained an observer and a fighter in my party. I never became a contractor. There's only one mayor in CHP who doesn't like me... Why don't they like me, what's the problem? What evil have I done? Is fighting against the zoning mafia a bad thing?"

Tekin did not hide his resentment: "I've devoted my life to this party, and for 20 days now, I've been unable to reach the general chair of CHP and Ekrem İmamoğlu. What kind of situation is this? Am I not a human being?"

Meanwhile, Özgür Özel stated in a statement to journalists that he would call Gürsel Tekin in a few days.


I also called Ali Mahir Başarır, one of CHP's influential strategists and deputy group chair, and asked, "Is there really a big turmoil in CHP, or do you think it's exaggerated?" I received this response: "Believe me, the issues discussed on the street, social media, and the press are very different. A person has been a mayor for 3-4 terms, now isn't nominated, and resigns. Let him. He's leaving because the organization didn't want him. So, is the turmoil here? You're going to be a deputy for 15-20 years, a mayor for three terms, always coming in through appointments, but now you resign! Do you think this is turmoil?"

What about the claims of an extraordinary convention in CHP after the local elections? Başarır had this response for those who mentioned it: "How many elections have been lost in this party over 13 years? Who called for a convention because of losing? Look, we will win all the provinces again, from Istanbul to Ankara. Still, there will be those who want to go to a convention. The charter is there…"


Yes, Istanbul was the most coveted spot in CHP. So, what did the Ekrem İmamoğlu faction, which has become a significant force within the party, say about these discussions?

Firstly, contrary to claims, the İBB (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality) side emphasized, "There is not even a point of disagreement, conflict, or clash between Özgür Özel and Ekrem İmamoğlu." And how did they view the thesis "An extraordinary convention process in CHP will start on April 1"? I hear this response: "People who have kept AKP in power for 20 years are spreading these preparation rumors. We will still be managing the municipalities on April 1, let them dream for another 45 days..."

The İBB side shared their expected outcome in the election as follows:

"If we conduct our campaign healthily and communicate our issue well, we will win this election by a margin of 1-3 points. Even in the last four polls of AKP, İmamoğlu is ahead. There's no situation neither to panic nor to say 'We are definitely winning.'"


Lastly... I spoke with individuals very close to the former leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Their perspective on all these events was as follows: "In places where institutions have become very weak, CHP needs to be very strong. It's saddening to see the party appear as if it's weakening. We're in an election process. We will either expand democratization or legitimize the power of totalitarianism. In this sense, we cannot afford to engage in any polemics that could sabotage the process, harm the candidates, or indicate a weakness related to the elections.

CHP is not preparing for an April 1 convention, but it is being rapidly pushed in that direction. Inevitably, this sentiment has begun to form. This is not just about Kemal Bey. There are many different perspectives, and the probability of a convention process is starting to become high. In summary, we will fulfill all our duties without damaging the candidates. But if there's a path we need to walk again on April 1, we will resolve it by embracing each other..."

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