The leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, called on party members to be wary of intraparty strife ahead of the ordinary congress period in an effort to enhance cooperation within the party.
As the ordinary congress nears, Kılıçdaroğlu warned party officials against disputes in order to get ahead of conflicts which would be distracting in the upcoming crucial period.
"Do not waste all of your energy within the party, work to open to the outside,"Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said in the CHP's Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting.
The ordinary congress period, which was on a break due to Eid al-Adha, will start on Sept. 10 with the elections of local representatives.
Stressing the importance of the approaching period, Kılıçdaroğlu asked members not to allow quarrels to start and grow within the party. He underlined that party members should focus on important issues and avoid intraparty unrest.
The divisions within CHP, which prompted the rebuke of Kılıçdaroğlu, have been noticed as some members voiced their own ideas on various issues.
For instance, the CHP chairman and party members do not share same views on the planned referendum of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The split in the ideas of the party leader and some party officials upon the issue caused confusion, contradicting Kılıçdaroğlu's envision of a harmonized party. The CHP chairman reportedly supported the KRG referendum at a meeting with a Kurdish delegation lobbying in Turkey on Sept. 2.
Even though Kılıçdaroğlu expressed his support for the referendum saying that "Kurds have right to hold a referendum," CHP's Deputy Chairman Öztürk Yılmaz criticized it, stressing that a referendum would adversely affect the region. Yılmaz pointed out that the diverse composition of the region has not been taken into consideration. He stated that KRG leader Masoud Barzani needs to cancel the referendum on the grounds that it violates the Iraqi Constitution.
Onur Öymen, a former CHP deputy, has also voiced his ideas in stark contrast to Kılıçdaroğlu regarding the referendum, saying that it might have negative implications for both the region and Turkey.
The intraparty unrest within the CHP was at its peak in May when Mersin Deputy Fikri Sağlar was referred to the disciplinary committee due to his criticism of Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu. Also, the party's deputy head Selin Sayek Böke resigned, which ignited heated debates questioning democracy within the party.
Upon criticism, Kılıçdaroğlu said that he would not allow any fights and added that members who cause unrest in the party would be expelled.
The CHP chairman has drawn criticism on a wide range of issues ranging from his poor performance in elections and referendums to his overall performance since taking office in the CHP in 2010 after Deniz Baykal resigned over a sex tape scandal. Kılıçdaroğlu has lost eight times in elections and referendums so far.
The CHP held its 35th ordinary congress in Ankara on Jan. 16-17, 2016, and Kılıçdaroğlu was re-elected as the party's leader with 990 of the 1,238 votes. He entered the congress as the only candidate, which was interpreted by some as a sign of lack of competitiveness in the party.