Sunday's party caucus meeting of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), where the names of 145 mayoral candidates were revealed for the local elections slated for March 31, was shadowed by intraparty conflicts prompted by disputes about names.
Following the 18-hour meeting held under the leadership of CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, CHP Istanbul Province head Canan Kaftancıoğlu announced that she has resigned from her post in reaction to the mayoral candidates the party determined to compete in the upcoming municipal elections. Yet, later she withdrew her resignation.
Publishing an announcement about her decision on Twitter, Kaftancıoğlu said she has decided to leave her post as the opinions of the CHP Istanbul provincial organization were not adequately reflected in the party management in the process of determining the Istanbul mayoral candidates.
"I will continue my struggle in accordance with my responsibilities to our party, our organization, our voter base and Istanbul," Kaftancıoğlu added.
Sunday's party meeting was recessed three times due to the rift that widened between the party caucus members.
Reportedly, CHP's candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Ekrem İmamoğlu, and CHP Istanbul Deputy Erdoğan Toprak had great influence on determining the CHP's mayoral lists prepared for Istanbul. However, İmamoğlu's wish to field Kemal Çebi or Gündüz Çapan for Istanbul's Küçükçekmece district drew a rebuff in party organizations. After CHP Deputy Group Chairman Engin Altay reacted to this request, the candidate interview in this district was also suspended.
Also, after the party renominated the current mayor of western Muğla's Marmaris, Ali Acar, for the district at the party caucus meeting, CHP's Marmaris party organization announced yesterday their resignation, stating the political will of the organization ignored by the CHP party administration. Subsequently, Acar also resigned from the CHP. Commenting on the issue, district head Tolga Akbay described the events as "anti-democratic" and "unethical."
Akbay added, "3,700 of our members can also resign," stressing that they can meet with other political parties.
The party has also officially announced İzmir's Seferihisar district mayor, Tunç Soyer, for its İzmir candidate, dubbed a CHP stronghold. Previously, the party administration was criticized for not determining a candidate with only two months left for the election. Giving his first message through social media, Soyer thanked the people of Izmir, saying he would do this task with "a great love." In line with the cooperation with the right-wing Good Party (İP), the two main components of the Nation Alliance agreed in early December to cooperate in 21 provinces, but ultimately expanded their alliance to 28 more provinces for the upcoming local elections. Accordingly, the CHP also announced on Sunday its 31 mayoral candidates for Turkey's cultural and commercial hub, Istanbul, while the party administrations of the CHP and İP in certain districts protested the parties' decision to back the candidate of the other party in the local elections.
In detail, even the İP is willing to nominate a candidate in Üsküdar, where the party Chairwoman Meral Akşener resides, the CHP announced one of the party caucus members, Ahmet Kılıç, as the parties' joint candidate.
Also, after the resignation of the former mayor of Istanbul's Şişli district, Mustafa Sarıgül, from the CHP on Wednesday, businesswoman Fidan Aslan Eroğlu was nominated in the district.