The former presidential candidate of the Republican People's Party's (CHP) Muharrem İnce has slammed party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over the latter’s attempt to comfort Sözcü daily columnist Rahmi Turan, who slandered İnce last month and had to apologize after the issue erupted into scandal. In his column last week, Turan thanked Kılıçdaroğlu by saying that the CHP leader had sent a message of condolence. According to editor-in-chief of the Hürriyet daily, Ahmet Hakan, this message infuriated İnce as, in his terms: “I am the one who was the target of slander, but the chairman sent a message to the slanderer instead.” An intra-party crisis broke out among CHP ranks last month amid claims that a senior CHP member had visited the presidential complex to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The claims were brought forward by Turan, who later announced İnce as the figure in question, citing another journalist, Talat Atilla, as the source of his claim. Atilla claimed that a source within the CHP had told him about the alleged meeting. After the claims turned out to be a fabrication, Turan apologized to both İnce and Erdoğan. “The chairman did not send me a message saying ‘I know Mr. İnce, he would never go to the presidential complex. Tell him not to worry.’ But instead, he sent that message to Turan. How can I not worry now?” İnce said after finding out about Kılıçdaroğlu’s message of goodwill, according to Hakan. Put forth as the CHP's presidential candidate in the 2018 elections, İnce a few months ago declared his intention to run again in the next polls. İnce competed in the June 24 presidential elections and received 30% of the votes, falling short of the winner, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Yet support for İnce surpassed the support for his party, the CHP, by 8 percentage points in the parliamentary elections. The vote gap has inspired İnce and his entourage to attempt to dislodge the party's long-standing leader Kılıçdaroğlu.
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