Akşener ‘infiltrated’ opposition alliance with Erdoğan’s instruction, former İYİ MP suggests

Former İYİ Party MP and founding secretary general, Aytun Çıray, has claimed that the party leader Akşener had “infiltrated” the opposition alliance Table of Six with President Erdoğan’s instruction to harm the alliance’s reputation.

This file photo shows İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener (L), and former İYİ Party MP and founding secretary general Aytun Çıray (R)

Duvar English

Aytun Çıray, former İYİ (Good) Party deputy and founding secretary general, on April 9 suggested that the party leader Meral Akşener “infiltrated” the opposition alliance Table of Six with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s instruction, and her temporary departure from the alliance prior to the 2023 elections was made to harm the alliance’s reputation.

Çıray made the comments during a live Halk TV broadcast. Çıray first said Erdoğan started influencing the İYİ Party after the success in the 2019 local elections, in which the opposition was able to win Istanbul and Ankara municipalities for the first time after more than two decades.

Then journalist Timur Soykan asked “Do you think there was an infiltration by the AKP or Erdoğan after the success in 2019?,” which Çıray replied, “I think there was direct infiltration at the highest level.”

“Over time, the information and documents we have (in this regard) will increase. When we look retrospectively, as we say in medicine, at this stage we see that the information and documents that will increase the diagnosis are slowly starting to form,” he added.

When asked by Barış Pehlivan, “I perceive that what you are saying is that Erdoğan had a secret negotiation with Akşener, and together they prevented the İYİ Parti from taking such a critical task,” Çıray replied, “Yes, I’m doing such an analysis.”

Çıray also referred to a statement made by Akşener in 2023, in which she declared, “I’m going to become the prime minister.” He said his interpretation for this statement at the time was that the determination to restore the parliamentary system.

“One day, Akşener said ‘You all wanted Mansur Yavaş (as presidential candidate). Come on, go ahead and get Mansur Yavaş elected if you can. I am not running (for the presidency). Do whatever you want,’ during a deputy meeting,” Çıray added.

Prior to the 2023 May presidential elections, Akşener on March 3 publicly rejected then-CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidacy despite other parties in the Table of Six agreeing upon him, saying his candidacy was being imposed on the İYİ Party.

One day later, Akşener said she was supporting CHP’s Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and CHP’s Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş as candidates amid polls indicating they could perform better against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. She later returned to the alliance after the leaders agreed upon the vice presidencies of İmamoğlu and Yavaş.

Later, some argued that Akşener’s temporary departure from the alliance might be a factor in Kılıçdaroğlu’s defeat against Erdoğan as the alliance was not seen united.

After the 2023 elections which saw Kılıçdaroğlu’s defeat, the İYİ Party parted ways with the main opposition alliance on the grounds that it pushed back the party's identity. In the 2023 general elections, the party received 9.69% of the votes, garnering 43 parliamentary seats out of 600.

After the party only received 3.77% of the votes in the 2024 local elections held in March 31, Akşener announced a party congress and said she was stepping down from the party leadership.