Aziz Kocaoğlu, the Republican People's Party (CHP) serving İzmir mayor, said Tuesday that he is regretful that his party has not been able to determine a mayoral candidate for the local elections slated for March 31. He added that he was ready for the responsibility, while referring to his decision to rerun.
"As mayor of İzmir for 15 years, I have to protect the interests of my compatriots. I had to take the initiative to bring success to my party. If my compatriots ask me ‘why are you trying to escape this responsibility,' how would I answer them," Kocaoğlu, the CHP's veteran mayor, said at a press conference in İzmir's Aliağa district.
The nomination for İzmir's mayoral candidate from the CHP for the upcoming March local elections has turned into a complex situation, with no name having emerged yet and just three month
s left for the ballot boxes to open. Kocaoğlu said that he wishes the CHP had already decided on their candidate by now, adding that he became a candidate by his own choice.
After six party caucus meetings and no results in determining a candidate for İzmir, the party decided to take the opinions of party organizations and the city itself into consideration. According to media reports, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu favors İzmir's Seferihisar district Mayor Tunç Soyer for the metropolitan municipality, while CHP deputy Chairman Tuncay Özkan is insistent on being selected as the candidate.
Earlier this month, Kocaoğlu, announced that he will rerun for the position in the local elections, despite previously announcing that he would not.
Kocaoğlu, who led Turkey's third-largest city, dubbed a CHP stronghold since 2004, previously said that he will not hide from the "historical responsibility" of becoming a candidate for the party in the face of no apparent CHP candidate in the upcoming elections. Regarding the nomination process in İzmir, CHP spokesman Faik Öztrak said Monday that Kocaoğlu is just one of the candidates for nomination for İzmir municipality, adding that he will race with other candidates on equal terms.
Meanwhile, Kılıçdaroğlu met with the Good Party (İP) chairwoman Meral Akşener on Monday to discuss the two parties' cooperation in the upcoming local elections. According to media reports, the two leaders resolved the disagreements over their alliance in this meeting. Kılıçdaroğlu and Akşener also evaluated the candidates in Istanbul's districts and critical provinces such as Gaziantep.
Media outlets had reported that the parties cannot yet reach an agreement over some districts of İzmir and Istanbul, as the İP demands a total of 10 districts of Istanbul, including Üsküdar, Eyüp, Şile, and Beykoz from the CHP, but the CHP is not eager to leave some of the districts it has a possibility of winning in with its own candidates.