NEWS NATIONAL NEWS        06/03/2023

Turkey’s opposition names Kılıcdaroğlu as presidential candidate

Turkey’s six-party opposition alliance has ended months of debate today and agreed to nominate the chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, as their joint candidate against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the upcoming presidential elections on May 14th. The alliance of six opposition parties comprises the CHP, Iyi Party (IP), SP, Gelecek Party (GP), Demokrat Party (DP) and DEVA Party.


Kılıçdaroğlu told a gathering of some 2,000 supporters in Ankara that  “Our table is the table of peace. Our only goal is to take the country to days of prosperity, peace and joy.”


The alliance has said that it will reverse many of Erdogan’s policies on the economy, civil rights and foreign affairs in what many see as the most consequential election in the republic’s 100-year history. Kılıçdaroğlu, 74, could take advantage of years of economic crisis and soaring inflation, as well as last month’s devastating earthquakes in the south that killed close to 50,000 people and brought criticism of the state’s response.


However, some doubt that the former economist who climbed the ranks as a corruption fighter can defeat Erdoğan, Turkey’s longest-serving leader whose campaigning charisma has helped him win more than a dozen election victories.


Five parties in the opposition alliance had agreed on Kılıcdaroğlu’s nomination on Friday, but the bloc splintered after Turkey’s right-wing IYI Party leader Meral Akşener warned the joint candidate risked losing the election. The IYI Party’s proposed presidential candidates — Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, the CHP mayors of Istanbul and Ankara respectively — were not accepted by the other five parties. IYI Party had opposed Kılıçdaroğlu’s nomination after polls suggested Imamoğlu and Yavaş had a better chance of winning.


After a tense 72 hours, the alliance met again on Monday and accepted an IYI proposal that Imamoğlu and Yavaş would later be appointed as vice presidents. In his speech, Kilicdaroglu said the leaders of the other five opposition parties would also serve as vice presidents.


Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said it may also support Kılıcdaroğlu in the presidential election after “clear, open talks”. HDP party co-leader Mithat Sancar said “Our clear expectation is a transition for a strong democracy. If we can agree on fundamental principles, we may support him in presidential elections.”


Turkey’s opposition has cooperated more closely since its success in taking control of major municipalities, including Istanbul and Ankara, from Erdogan’s AK Party in the 2019 local elections. However, the discord within the opposition alliance has raised doubts about its ability to capitalise on the erosion in Erdoğan’s popularity shown by the opinion polls. The opposition has failed in previous national votes to pose a serious challenge to Erdoğan, who has been in power for two decades.


Turkey’s net minimum wage has been raised 49% to TL 17,002 (USD 577) as of 01.01.2024       Migration communication helpline 157 available for foreigners in Turkey       Read our homepage articles on developments in the Turkish economy       Turkey’s official annual inflation rate increases marginally to 64.86% in January 2024       Turkey’s official unemployment rate is 8.8% in December 2023       Read our BUSINESS section for latest sectoral and corporate news       Turkey’s population is 85,372,377 as of 2023 yearend       No. of foreigners visiting Turkey in 2023 increases 10.4% to 49.2 million       Turkey’s private sector foreign debt is USD 164.4 billion as of yearend 2023       Turkey’s economy grew 5.5% in 2022       FDI to Turkey is USD 10.6 billion in 2023       Turkey’s current account deficit is USD 45.2 billion in 2023