Turkey’s main opposition hit by turmoil as second man resigns
Turkey’s restive main opposition was hit by fresh turmoil yesterday as the right-hand man of party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu submitted his resignation, disgruntled with long-running disagreements over the party’s vision and a row over how to organize its influential Istanbul branch.
Kılıçdaroğlu sought to dissuade Tekin from quitting, but the latter was determined to go, party sources said. Tekin was not present at the MYK meeting. There were rumors that his resignation could prompt other heavyweights to follow suit. At least one of them, secretary-general Bihlun Tamaylıgil, signalled at the MYK meeting that she might also consider stepping down, sources said.
Under party rules, it is up to Kılıçdaroğlu to decide how to proceed with deputy chair Gürsel Tekin’s resignation and to make a public statement on the issue, Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) spokeswoman Birgül Ayman Güler told reporters after a meeting of the party’s Central Administrative Board (MYK). sit on the MYK, while retaining his party membership.
One of the CHP’s most popular figures, Tekin has been a staunch supporter of Kılıçdaroğlu against intra-party opposition since the crisis that rocked the party in 2010, when then-chairman Deniz Baykal stepped down amid a sex tape scandal.
Keen for a far-reaching overhaul of the party in favor of a more socially democratic agenda, Tekin had pushed Kılıçdaroğlu to revise the party leadership during the CHP’s extraordinary convention in February, but Kılıçdaroğlu turned down the suggestion on grounds that such a move would stir up fresh in-house tensions, sources said.
Tekin, who previously led the CHP’s Istanbul branch and was widely credited for the party’s rising popularity in the city, was also annoyed that fellow deputy chairs Nihat Matkap and Erdoğan Toprak bypassed him to interfere in CHP affairs in Istanbul, and was unhappy with the composition of the party’s leadership in the city and its sub-districts, party sources said. Tekin was reportedly unhappy with current Istanbul branch head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı on the grounds that he favored certain cliques within the party.