The growing mistrust in the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) over disputable nominations in certain provinces and districts ahead of next month's local elections has led to continuing protests and intraparty brawls; however, as the disputes continue, the nature of the protests have started to gain various characteristics as some provincial organizations request changes in nominees, while others preferred to launch a march while wearing red vests to express their reaction to the party's administration.
Protesters wearing bright red vests decided to march from Istanbul to Turkey's capital Ankara on Jan. 8 in a bid to protest the party administration's reckless stance toward the reaction of CHP's Istanbul Maltepe District Organization over the announcement of Ali Kılıç as the candidate for Istanbul's Maltepe Municipality.
After a 10-day walk from Istanbul, the group arrived in Ankara Sunday and walked toward the mausoleum of the republic's founder, Anıtkabir, with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's posters and flags in hand. Throughout the March, the red vests chanted the slogan of "Rights, Law, Justice." As one of the leading figures, Kenan Otlu, the party's former Istanbul Youth branch head, said the main purpose of the march is "clean society and clean politics."
Issuing a press statement, Otlu stressed they marched in opposition to a decision that people of Maltepe did not approve of, adding that the CHP has presented several mayoral candidates who have not been able to justify themselves in public. The group left the headquarters, accusing the party's administration of being unconcerned about what has happened.
To reevaluate mayoral candidates, 12 party assembly members of the CHP called for an extraordinary meeting on Saturday. "Candidates causing the discussions should be reevaluated and submitted for the approval of the party assembly before being presented to the YSK [Turkey's Supreme Election Board]," the petition said. In fact, a petition was submitted to the administration late Friday, but the request was not accepted on the grounds that the chief clerk was not present. The members also sent a letter to CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu saying that the candidates, including Maltepe, prompted the discomfort in the public and a protest in the Maltepe party organization. Members underscored that such a situation may lead to failure in the upcoming elections if attention is not paid to it.
Facing a series of resignations and disputes as mistrust grows in the party over nominations for the upcoming local elections, in southeastern Gaziantep province, CHP mayoral candidate for Şahinbey district, Sezgin Sönmez, waived his candidacy, claiming that he was receiving negative energy from his colleagues and the district's organization, which would "take a heavy toll" on the party.
Zonguldak's Çaycuma district mayor, Bülent Kantarcı, on the other hand, haggled with the district organization since he reacted to the disapproval of the municipal council list, adding he cannot collaborate with the CHP's Çaycuma district organization for the upcoming elections.
In the western Black Sea province of Zonguldak, the CHP has been in disarray for some time due to the candidate nomination process and alliance talks with the right-wing Good Party (İP).
The İP decided to field a candidate in northern Zonguldak's Ereğli district after its alliance with the CHP broke down over the "tactless attitude" of the CHP candidate, said the İP provincial head.
"We had meetings with the CHP where its candidate, Halil Posbıyık, slammed our party. After this kind of attitude, we decided to participate in the elections with our own candidate," said Yavuz Erkmen, the İP's provincial head in Zonguldak.
The two parties had previously decided to join forces, under the umbrella of the Nation Alliance, in many provinces and districts for the upcoming local elections against the People's Alliance between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).