The Republican People's Party (CHP) is finding itself in turmoil as party dissidents are declaring their candidacies for party chairmanship after the election of CHP Istanbul Provincial Chairwoman Canan Kaftancıoğlu. CHP Yalova Deputy Muharrem İnce said he would announce his candidacy for party chairmanship a day after the former head of the Istanbul Bar Association, Ümit Kocasakal, declared his candidacy for the same post. İnce said that he will hold a press conference on Monday. The Yalova deputy had previously run against CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in 2014, but lost the race and Kılıçdaroğlu secured another term.
Ümit Kocasakal said that he would run for the CHP chairmanship on Wednesday and criticized the current situation of the party.
"It is seen that some people from the CHP contradict the party's ideology and harm its legal entity," Kocasakal said, adding that the CHP should not drift away from the values on which it was founded.
The party has received criticism after the recent election of Kaftancıoğlu as Istanbul provincial chairwoman. Kaftancıoğlu was elected as the CHP Istanbul provincial chair on Jan. 14, in a congress held at the Bostancı Performance Center.
An investigation has been launched against Kaftancıoğlu on charges of terrorism propaganda and insulting the president. Kaftancıoğlu's social media posts have been subject to criticism from many.
Speaking at the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip, Erdoğan said Kaftancıoğlu disrespected the Turkish nation and carried out propaganda in previous posts on her official Twitter account, which he said speak for themselves.
Commenting on the Twitter posts, Erdoğan said, "She disgraced our nation and history by saying Armenian genocide. She says that the state is not a murderer but a serial killer. She accused the state for those who were killed during terrorist activities. She conducted propaganda in her posts during the Gezi incidents."
On Wednesday, Kaftancıoğlu apologized to Erdoğan for sharing a picture that includes an insult of the president's mother during the 2013 Gezi protests.
"I sincerely apologize to Erdoğan," Kaftancıoğlu told reporters on Jan. 17 during the handover ceremony at the CHP's Istanbul headquarters.
On the other hand, Kılıçdaroğlu has been the subject of criticism in the party as he has lost the national vote eight times in elections and referendums since taking office in 2010 after Chairman Deniz Baykal resigned over a sex tape scandal.
Unrest in the CHP had also risen last May when Mersin Deputy Fikri Sağlar was referred to the disciplinary committee due to his criticism of Kılıçdaroğlu. Also, the party's deputy head, Selin Sayek Böke, resigned, igniting heated debates questioning democracy in the party.
The CHP received 25.31 percent of the vote and 133 seats in Parliament in the Nov. 1 2015 general elections. Many CHP deputies previously criticized the party's vote share, saying that getting 25 percent of the vote was not a success.
The CHP general ordinary congress will be held on Feb. 3-4. On the first day, either a new chairman will be elected or Kılıçdaro
ğlu will maintain his post. On the second and last day of the congress, members of the party assembly will be elected.