A local party organization of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lashed out at Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and party headquarters for ignoring the allegations of an alliance with the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Following Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's remarks on March 11 suggesting that the CHP administration included names associated with the HDP in the city council candidate lists, three city council members in the party organization of İzmir's Bayraklı district have resigned in protest due to the administration's silence on the matter.
"Neither the district head and province head of the party nor the mayor answered [Soylu's] allegations. The candidates and the administration have accepted such claim by remaining silent. We resigned in protest of this," Şeref Balbay, one of CHP members of city councils, said.
Pointing out that some members contacted them after submitting their resignations, Balbay underscored that they should not have called them, but instead, announce what they needed to say in front of the public. Mustafa Karman and Ali Şenay were also among the members who resigned from the CHP.
The CHP has refrained from officially including the HDP, which has been condemned for its close ties with the PKK, in its electoral alliance with the far-right Good Party (İP) amid fears of a possible backlash from its secular-nationalist voter base.
The HDP is known for its support of autonomy in regions where large Kurdish populations live. Also, some of its members have been charged for or accused of having links to the terrorist organization PKK that has been fighting the Turkish state for more than 30 years and left more than 40,000 dead. Its former co-leader, Selahattin Demirtaş, was arrested in November 2016 over terrorist propaganda.
Meanwhile, incumbent chairman of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), Önder Aksakal refuted claims that his party is in cooperation with the CHP, saying that there was no meeting between the two parties and they denied the CHP's demand for an appointment.
"I, as a chairman of a party, should not meet with a chairman of another party," he said, adding that DSP is not also specifically targeting the voter base of any party.
Despite addressing similar voter bases, as both are leftist parties, the CHP and the DSP have been critical of one another for quite some time, both blaming each other for letting the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) win elections.
The DSP has been using anti-CHP rhetoric in its slogans, and has criticized CHP Ankara mayoral candidate Mansur Yavaş.
During the process of determining municipal candidates, a number of candidates who were turned down by the CHP announced that they would run under the DSP banner, fueling the dispute.
The CHP accuses the DSP of dividing the votes by dispossessing some CHP members by showing them as municipal candidates in the local elections.
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