CHP party announces new road map on the way to more democracy for Turkey
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu cemented his victory over the intra-party opposition yesterday and announced “a new road map” for his party highlighting “democracy, freedom and human rights” like European social-democrat movements.
“The CHP is drawing a new road map focusing on the problems of the people and the country. We draw our new road map in the context of democracy and freedom,” Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday at his party’s extraordinary convention.
The convention, which was called by dissidents, led by former Secretary-General Önder Sav and backed tacitly by former Chairman Deniz Baykal, was held after a first convention the previous day significantly boosted Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership in the restive party.
The gathering was turned into a formality after Kılıçdaroğlu’s certain triumph against the dissidents at yesterday’s convention and all of the dissidents’ proposals were rejected by the majority of the delegates.
After two stormy conventions, the party’s old-guard veterans got a slap in the face from the Kılıçdaroğlu administration. The main opposition party will be more comfortable shifting its route to liberal-left and social democrat policies after overcoming its internal squabbles.
“I assure everyone the CHP will be a modern social democrat party. Our main objective is to come to power. We will make efforts for a modern Turkey. This is our way,” Kılıçdaroğlu told his party delegates.Despite Kılıçdaroğlu’s emphasis on social democracy, dissidents accused Kılıçdaroğlu of shifting the party to the right wing.
Prominent dissident İsa Gök, who was forced to leave the convention hall amid protests yesterday, questioned Kılıçdaroğlu’s “new road map” for the CHP.
“The new road map should be appropriate for the CHP’s roots. Otherwise, such an effort makes the party right wing. Our grassroots are leftist and revolutionist. The CHP should be leftist and anti-imperialist. The CHP should remember its past and its six arrows,” Gök said.
Some comments suggested the CHP was at the turning point of a division as rivalries were severe within the party and secession would be foreseeable after these two conventions.
However, Kılıçdaroğlu delivered unifying messages in the wake of the stormy conventions. In his thank you speech after yesterday’s convention he said he does not question the dissidents’ commitment to the party.
“I have no doubt about our 362 delegates’ [who called the convention] commitment to the CHP regardless of whether they approved or rejected the proposals. Of course there may be criticisms. I respect all of them. We are a big party,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Kılıçdaroğlu urged the party members to use their energy to “struggle against the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party]” instead of intra-party discussions.
Decrying the “anti-democratic practices of the AKP,” Kılıçdaroğlu said: “Democracy and freedoms are vanishing under the AKP. There is not a functioning democracy in this country. There is no division of powers; the media is under pressure. We will draw both national and international attention to these points.”
Intra-party tension within the CHP is likely to be eased until the party’s ordinary convention this fall. The defeated dissidents may pose a new challenge in the chairmanship elections despite their power loss.