Akşener doesn’t close the door for İmamoğlu and Yavaş’s mayoral candidacies

Opposition İYİ (Good) Party chair Meral Akşener has stated that they will consider fielding mayoral candidates against CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş in Istanbul and Ankara “when the day comes.” Her remarks came after she called on all political parties to enter the 2024 local elections on their own.

Nergis Demirkaya / Gazete Duvar

Right-wing nationalist opposition İYİ (Good) Party chair Meral Akşener on Aug. 26 stated that they will consider the mayoral candidacies of the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş in Istanbul and Ankara “when the day comes.”

Answering the questions of the journalists after her rally in the western province of Afyonkarahisar, Akşener said they are working as if they are going to field mayoral candidates everywhere for the 2024 local elections. 

She said that cooperation can be made in some provinces with other parties, adding that it will not be a broad alliance like “parties coming together and determining joint candidates.”

Her remarks came after she called on all political parties, including those which are in ruling and opposition alliances, to enter the 2024 local elections on their own during the rally in Afyonkarahisar.

While answering the questions of journalists, Akşener said “This alliance system is really driving Turkey into the abyss. All parties should enter (the election) on their own and make an effort to turn the local election into a truly local election. I made a call to both Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, Mr. Bahçeli and Mr. Erdoğan on this issue. We'll see how it turns out. But as I said, in some places, some agreements may be made.”

Akşener said they will consider fielding mayoral candidates in Istanbul and Ankara against main opposition CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş “when the day comes.” 

In 2019, the İYİ Party did not field any candidates in some metropolitan municipalities, including Istanbul and Ankara, paving the way for the main opposition CHP candidates to assume the mayorships against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“(If we field candidates in those provinces) Our candidates will talk about the projects, not the identities,” she said and added that alliances fuel identity politics. 

When asked if the main opposition Nation Alliance ended after the election loss, Akşener said “The Nation Alliance or the (ruling) People's Alliance is valid for the general election (because the President should get at least 50 percent of the votes). But this is not the case in local elections.”

When asked “If Istanbul Municipality is lost, isn't there a chance that you’ll be held responsible in case you field candidates?,” Akşener said “So be it. Politics is a people-oriented business. What would happen if the İYİ Party was not present now? Imagine how many deputies the AKP would enter the parliament in 2018 (without us)? Is our voter from the CHP, no. If the things I described politely as the echo chamber had not happened, the voters who broke away from the AKP could have come to us. If the İYİ Party had not entered the elections, would (we won Istanbul at all)?”

When asked if she was aware of the “secret” agreement between CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and far-right Victory Party (ZP) leader Ümit Özdağ, Akşener said she was not aware of it. “We do not have any information about the Interior Ministry (situation). Nobody knows. There is no problem on my part, it’s (Kılıçdaroğlu’s) ministry quota. The interesting thing here is that Mr. Kemal and Mr. Ümit are signing a (secret) protocol. Then it is revealed. In our party, everything is transparent. What I know, everyone knows.”

Far-right anti-immigrant Victory Party leader Ümit Özdağ previously announced that his party was promised to have three ministries, including the interior, and the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) in exchange for the support of Nation Alliance’s candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in the second round of the presidential election. Kılıçdaroğlu neither denied nor confirmed the agreement and said “the protocol was signed between us. It's not right for me to talk about that protocol.”

(English version by Alperen Şen)