Crisis in main opposition grows as neo-nationalists aim to shake up the CHP

Published 04.11.2014 16:51
Updated 05.11.2014 17:18
Crisis in main opposition grows as neo-nationalists aim to shake up the CHP

After main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Ankara deputy and neo-nationalist party member Emine Ülker Tarhan resigned with bitter statements on Friday, some media outlets asserted that neo-nationalist party members who oppose CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's policies will offer resignations one by one once a week to shake up the party.

CHP decided Wednesday to send dissident Eskişehir Deputy Süheyl Batum to disciplinary committee to be discharged from party.

Süheyl Batum asserted Monday that there are 20 deputies within the CHP who stand against the current policies of the party.

Batum said that these dissident members should gather and discuss the wrongheaded policies of the party administration.

"If I see that there is no possibility to gather [dissident members] together, I will do what is necessary," Batum said, implying that he may resign if he thinks that there is no hope to continue with the CHP.

He also dismissed allegations that deputies who resigned or are to resign will take part in other parties on the left such as the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and Labor Party (İP).

"I absolutely agree with Tarhan's statement. I talked with some [members to find a way out of the party's wrong policies] and I will talk with some later and if they do not intend to take action, I will not be a part of this game. I do not think that it is necessary to wait until the 2015 [national elections]," Batum said.

The crisis within the main opposition party first erupted when former Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu's was announced as the joint presidential candidate for the Aug. 10 presidential election. Some deputies raised their voices over the CHP administration's İhsanoğlu choice and pushed the party to hold an extraordinary party congress in early September. Resignations started only two months after the re-election of Kılıçdaroğlu as party leader at the 18th extraordinary party congress.

Former CHP leader and Antalya Deputy Deniz Baykal, who was discharged from the CHP after a sex tape scandal, will not intervene in the resignation scandal which erupted within the party, according to reports. Baykal was expected to announce his candidacy for the party chairmanship at the 18th extraordinary congress with support from intra-party opposition, but he preferred not to get involved in any rivalry during "this critical period of the CHP."

Reportedly, after leading dissident Tarhan's resignation, Batum and Uşak Deputy Dilek Akagün Yılmaz will offer their resignations in the upcoming term.

Following her bitter resignation letter on Friday, Tarhan yesterday gave another speech at a press conference at the Turkish Parliament harshly criticizing CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu.

In her speech, Tarhan referred to Kılıçdaroğlu's election failures saying that the CHP administration is growing distant from the party's grassroots.

"What put the CHP in a difficult position were its policies that moved it away from its grassroots," said Tarhan, accusing Kılıçdaroğlu of adopting harsh rhetoric toward CHP supporters.

Referring to Kılıçdaroğlu's strict statement toward CHP voters pushing them to vote for the CHP by slamming the table and saying "whether you like it or not, you will go to the ballot box," Tarhan said that the CHP administration is not aware of the party's responsibilities.

With her bitter press statement regarding her resignation, Tarhan blamed the CHP's administration for their "wrong and weak policies," which she claimed are not representative of the people's sentiments and were not made with winning elections in mind.

Tarhan primarily targeted the CHP administration for its passive stance against the government's foreign policy, terror and labor issues while criticizing the CHP's attitude toward the opposition within the party.

Tarhan's statement reads, "I resign from the CHP after the extraordinary party assembly turned into a competition to gain seats and the disregarding of my call to draw a serious road map, not learning from mistakes made in the presidential elections [on Aug. 10]."

She further asserted that the CHP made irresponsible calls during a critical period that saw terrorist activities shake Turkey and that the party had vague policies and incoherent discourses concerning the Oct. 2 mandate.

In the Aug. 10 presidential election, Tarhan's name was allegedly among those who would be mentioned for presidential candidacy, but these claims were dismissed by both her and the CHP. Following the CHP's loss in the presidential election, the 18th extraordinary party congress gathered to elect a party leader in response to the harsh criticism of intra-party opposition within the CHP. It was also asserted that Tarhan would announce her candidacy for party leadership to compete with Kılıçdaroğlu, but these allegations were dismissed when CHP Vice Chairman Muharrem İnce announced his candidacy to run in opposition first.

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