İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu signaled Wednesday that he may be the Republican People's Party's (CHP) candidate for the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in the March 31 local elections despite previously announcing that he will not run.
Speaking at a press briefing following his meeting with incumbent CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Kocaoğlu underscored that he will not escape the "historical responsibility" of becoming a candidate for the party in the face of no apparent CHP candidate in the upcoming elections.
Kocaoğlu, who led Turkey's third-largest city, dubbed a CHP stronghold since 2004, said that he announced his decision to not run for the election on Oct. 1, six months ahead of the elections, and was motivated to provide the party and possible candidates more time to focus on the upcoming candidacy process.
However, Kocaoğlu stressed that the CHP had not determined a candidate for the city even after three-
and-half months had passed, while the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), had nominated a strong candidate, former Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi, on Nov. 27.
Kocaoğlu highlighted such reasons led him to worry about the possibility of the loss of power in the municipality and conveyed his concerns to Kılıçdaroğlu.
"I informed [Kılıçdaroğlu] that this situation in Izmir, the biggest city that the CHP has been ruling, saddles me with a historic responsibility, and I will not escape this responsibility," he said.
It is not the first time Kocaoğlu has made similar remarks. He previously said that he thought of not running in the 2014 elections, but then-Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım's candidacy propelled his decision to run again.
Meanwhile, as part of an alliance with the right-wing Good Party (İP), the CHP is planning to bring new municipalities into negotiations. According to the Habertürk news site, the two parties decided to cooperate in more than 60 provinces in the March 31 local elections. Accordingly, the number of metropolitan municipalities and provinces that come under the alliance rose respectively to 23 and 40.
Kılıçdaroğlu and IP chairwoman Meral Akşener are also expected to meet before the weekend to discuss important points.