THE main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) announced the party's Yalova Deputy Muharrem İnce as their presidential candidate on May 4. In his first three days, İnce has shown constant convergence with the pro-PKK People's Democratic Party (HDP).
Speaking at the presidential rally on Saturday, İnce said currently imprisoned former HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş should be released from the prison. "Members of the HDP, the Good Party [İP] and Felicity Party [SP] are the children of this country. Do not mess with Akşener; Do not mess with Perinçek; Do not put Demirtaş in jail. Democracy is about empa- thy," he said.
Furthermore, İnce underlined that he will meet with other presidential candidates, including Demirtaş, at Edirne Prison for sake of the equal elections. He reiterated his intentions to visit jailed Demirtaş tomorrow at his press conference yesterday. He said he applied to the Ministry of Justice in order to meet with Demirtaş.
The HDP has come under fire for its close links to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. Members of the party have so far declined to call the PKK a "terrorist group" and have attended PKK militants' funerals, two of whom were suicide bombers that killed dozens of civilians in multiple bombings in Ankara.
In November 2016, 13 HDP lawmakers were arrested, and 10 of them, including HDP Co-chairs Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, remain under arrest awaiting trial on charges related to membership, leadership and committing crimes for the PKK terrorist group.
"I am not going to alienate anyone. I want to make an appointment with all the presidential candidates in the opposition when we start the campaign. I plan to visit Doğu Perinçek, Meral Akşener and Temel Karamollaoğlu, as well," he said on Sunday.
Previously, the CHP was slammed for closing its ties with the HDP for the months long alliance talks. According to re- ports, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu did not provide a thorough answer to a question about possible alliance efforts with the HDP. Explaining that the CHP may make alliances with any party that agrees with the party on the same principles, Kılıçdaroğlu said: "You never know. We may come to terms [with the HDP] on some issues, and we may not on some."
Meanwhile, the CHP is speeding up the campaign work, while Kılıçdaroğlu, İnce and party spokesperson Bülent Tezcan will hold three different ral- lies. The party's three prominent names will use three separate buses coordinated by CHP head- quarters and travel through the 81 provinces of Turkey.
İnce promises to give TL 500 to students twice a year
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, İnce mentioned his promises for the next term for the first time. He said he will give students TL 500 ($120) twice at a year. "When I am president, I will give young people their first good news. On May 19 and Oct. 29 we will give you TL 500 to help with your expenses. The Youth Scholarships will be given on May 19 and the Republic Scholarships on Oct. 29," he said.
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