CHP faces intra-party rifts ahead of coalition negotiations

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 23.06.2015 20:34
Updated 24.06.2015 00:57

As Turkey's political parties prepare for negotiations in efforts to form the new government, the Republican People's Party (CHP) are reportedly experiencing rifts within the party as local media sources reported that two CHP deputies have verbally abused former CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal following his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Additionally, during the nearly four-hour meeting held at CHP headquarters in Ankara on Monday, it has been reported by sources that CHP members are trying to prevent Baykal's position as Parliament speaker.

Though prior to the June 7 general elections the CHP had faced fierce debate due to continuous election failures, the party is beginning the new term with new disputes. In this regard, the recent rift within the party began after CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's claims of Baykal not informing him prior to meeting with Erdoğan. Kılıçdaroğlu, in statements made to a local newspaper, said: "If Mr. Deniz wanted to reach me he could have, however he did not want to and thus he has made a mistake." In the CHP's group meeting on Monday Baykal had reportedly made statements where he provided phone call records to the deputies and said when he called Kılıçdaroğlu's personal secretary, he gave Baykal a number to reach Kılıçdaroğlu but Baykal was unable to reach him on that number as well. Sources further said that following Baykal's explanation, Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said he had misunderstood the situation and that people had misinformed him.

However, two CHP deputies in the group meeting verbally abused the former chairman and it has been reported that those deputies also tried to physically assault him. In response to the abuse by his party members, Baykal reportedly described the reaction of the deputies as a shame and said they have jeopardized his position as the acting speaker of Parliament. The CHP also experienced continuous tension within the party late last year as members called for Kılıçdaroğlu to resign from his post as chairman. Former İzmir Deputy Birgül Ayman Güler requested Kılıçdaroğlu and his team resign due to poor administration skills while Enver Aysever, a producer, author and former CHP member, harshly criticized the CHP for imitating the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Additionally, Anatolia Party (AP) Chairwoman Emine Ülker Tarhan, who resigned from the CHP due to what she called the administration's "wrong and weak policies," recently criticized the CHP and Kılıçdaroğlu, saying he lacks the ability to create a viable opposition without indirectly teaming up with the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

As the 25th Parliament starts to hold its first sessions after Parliament's newly elected deputies took their oaths on Tuesday, the political parties will announce Parliament speaker candidates in the first five days. In this regard, the new Parliament speaker is expected to be announced on July 6. Due to Baykal's meeting with Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu's fierce reactions, it has been reported that the CHP is discussing different names as candidates for Parliament speaker. Former CHP Deputy İlhan Kesici and deputy and spokesman for the CHP, Haluk Koç, are being discussed as possible candidates from the CHP. In addition, the CHP is reportedly considering figures such as CHP Vice Chair Şafak Pavey and Sezgin Tanrıkulu.

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