Akşener says Kılıçdaroğlu offered former President Gül as presidential candidate in 2018

Turkish opposition İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener has stated that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu offered former AKP PM and President Abdullah Gül as a joint presidential candidate to run against Erdoğan for the 2018 elections. “I said that our friends (in the İYİ Party) declared me as a candidate, so they will not accept it,” Akşener stated.

Photo: DHA

Duvar English

Opposition İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener on Sept. 18 stated that Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu offered former President Abdullah as a joint presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.

Speaking at her party’s Thrace Organization Meeting in Edirne province, Akşener said “Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, it is true, offered me Mr. Abdullah Gül's candidacy, he said it the evening I went to request for those 15 deputies.”

The CHP gave its 15 deputies to the recently founded İYİ Party in order for the latter to enter the 2018 general election. With 15 deputies, the İYİ Party was able to form a parliamentary group, obtaining the right to enter the election. 

“Once again, I would like to thank Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu and those 15 deputies who came to us to form a group, to make democracy work, and then returned to their parties,” Akşener said and said Kılıçdaroğlu offered Gül’s presidential candidacy.

“I said that our friends (in the İYİ Party) declared me as a candidate, so they will not accept (Gül’s candidacy),” she added.

Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Abdullah Gül was the President between 2007 and 2014 prior to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Unlike in 2023, there was no joint presidential candidate of the opposition in the 2018 elections. Muharrem İnce from the CHP, Meral Akşener from the İYİ Party, Selahattin Demirtaş from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Temel Karamollaoğlu from the Felicity (Saadet) Party ran against Erdoğan who received 52.59% of the votes. 

“Many of our politician friends working within the CHP appear on television and talk about the issue of 15 MPs. If there was a payment for this, we paid it to them by giving Istanbul and Ankara (municipalities) as gifts. They still owe us,” Akşener also said, referring to the 2019 local elections.

In the 2019 local elections, the İYİ Party and HDP did not field mayoral candidates for Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities, paving the way for the CHP candidates, Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş, to assume the mayorships against the ruling AKP.

The İYİ Party announced that they will nominate their own candidates in 81 provinces in the 2024 local elections, arguing alliance politics pushes back the party's identity and increases polarization.