Kılıçdaroğlu's triple challenge

21 Şubat 2024 Çarşamba

One of the questions sought at the Republican People's Party (CHP)'s candidate introduction meeting on Sunday was whether the 7th general president Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu would come to the hall or not. He did not come...

Özgür Özel was sitting with Hikmet Çetin on one side and Murat Karayalçın on the other. In fact, it was known that Mr. Kemal would not come, but still, the question was tricky.

After attending the candidate introduction meeting in İzmir last Thursday, and after watching the presentation of all Turkey's candidates on stage and in the hall in Ankara, it is possible to say:

The excitement of change is running neck and neck with its pains.

Each candidate filling the Ankara Sports Hall was with great excitement and a rush of enthusiasm for success. This atmosphere was palpable in groups throughout the backstage area of the hall. However, it was noticeable that a common excitement could not be generated.


It was some time after the 9th President Süleyman Demirel moved into Çankaya Köşk... We were talking without any time constraints as a narrow group of journalists. The topic at one point turned to the period when he was politically banned. We asked:

How did you overcome those days?

He responded in a confident tone:

"Despite being banned from everything and my single sentence being banned from appearing in newspapers, I thought I was running the country. Every morning I would wake up with this feeling, listing the issues that needed to be resolved, pondering over them..."

Kılıçdaroğlu is certainly not banned like Demirel today. However, he lost the chair to the "flag of change" in a process where he planned not the congress but what he should do afterward as the general president. This situation has resulted in consequences for Kılıçdaroğlu as serious as those of May 14-28.

At this point, it is possible to say that Mr. Kemal still starts the day with the responsibility of being the general president. He expresses himself when he wants, either with a visit to a tradesman or by responding to Erdoğan.

It seems that Mr. Kemal has three options in front of him:

A knower... A known... A determiner... We had emphasized the first two options before, but the third option is not to be underestimated either!

The election results and Özgür Özel's process of taking on the leadership will also form CHP's domestic agenda from April 1 onwards.

The slightly higher presence of women among the candidates and a generational rejuvenation are certain dimensions of change. Besides, there are many expectations, from the ideological foundations of the march to power to concrete steps of intra-party democracy.


Last week, one evening, we visited Uğur Bayraktutan, the Artvin deputy elected as the CHP's Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair. On the right wall of his office, according to the executive desk, were slightly smiling photos of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on the left wall and Özgür Özel.

We entered Bayraktutan's office and couldn't leave. Deputies were coming in groups of three or five to celebrate. Bayraktutan's ability to dialogue among the deputies brought everyone together, but...

Now, the primary responsibility for the party to go to the March 31 elections in complete unity lies with Özel.

The complementary responsibility lies with Kılıçdaroğlu. Despite everything!

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