Türkiye'nin en iyi köşe yazarları en güzel köşe yazıları ile Hürriyet'te! Usta yazarlar ve gündemi değerlendiren köşe yazılarını takip edin.

CHP's candidate leads a ruling AKP survey conducted for Istanbul

Why does the Turkish Prime Minister pay so much attention to Istanbul, particularly to main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, ahead of the upcoming March bi-elections? I put this question to Gursel Tekin, the CHP's Istanbul provincial chairman; his response was very biting:

1- Erdogan asked an impartial institution to carry out the survey. The figures revealed that Kilicdaroglu leads the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP), Kadir Topbas by 1.5 percent... Of course, this is cause for alarm for the AKP.


Since the claim is serious, and since the person making it is the CHP's provincial chairman, I called him again to ask:


- Are you certain of the results?


He says: "Yes", and continues:


- They are absolutely correct… The prime minister also sees this. Notice that the prime minister is doing something that he should not be doing. He is contending directly with the CHP's candidate alone. That is because he has realized how tough the situation is. If he was to leave the campaigning to Topbas, the party would not succeed. Of course, it doesn't make any difference even if he does interfere into the campaign process.


So, how does the scene look on the "Istanbul Front" for both the CHP and AKP under these circumstances?



- In Istanbul, Kilicdaroglu started to differentiate from the CHP's central office. In my view, he does this purposely... He is softening opinions, particularly in a large segment of society, in this way... He is eyeing the votes of the other parties, including the Motherland Party (ANAP), Democrat Party (DP), Democratic Leftist Party (DSP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)... In other words, he is trying to establish an "Anti-AKP front".


Although he doesn't say it, he is trying to reach the ultra-conservatives segments of society, who are distanced from the AKP, by not opposing the CHP's recent "chador and Koran course initiatives".


Kilicdaroglu says:


- My veiled sister waiting at a bus station; look, both you and the women passing you in her jeep have religious beliefs. Poverty has nothing to do with belief. I will exert every effort for the rights of the poor, regardless of what they believe and if they are veiled or not. It is for this reason I stand against poverty and corruption...


This is the message Kilicdaroglu is whispering in Istanbul...



- The prime minister personally interferes in the campaign in a bid to break the understanding that the "AKP is in defense"... In every situation, he attempts to show Kilicdaroglu and CHP are together. He is trying to place pressure on Kilicdaroglu by via attacking the CHP's leader, Deniz Baykal. He aims to maintain the support of all conservative people with his party.



The AKP campaigns on a district-by-district basis in a bid to lessen the risk of political fraying. Erdogan seeks votes for himself in Istanbul. What he constantly says while attacking the CHP is, "Look what you did and look at what we have done. You cannot launch a project; you can only argue and cast aspersions..."



So, is it possible for the AKP to lose its 15 year hold on Istanbul? Or, let's put the question another way:


- Sefa Sirmen was the previous mayoral candidate for the CHP in the last bi-elections. He was on trial at the time. The AKP won the election by 680,000 votes. Can Kilicdaroglu close the difference?


- It is clear that Kilicdaroglu has shown that he is the sole name prepared to put pressure on the current governorship...


For this reason the AKP front will do something special in Istanbul in the coming period...