DEVA’s 13 Istanbul district heads resign from party after meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu

Turkish opposition Democracy and Progress Party’s (DEVA) 13 Istanbul district branch chairs have resigned from their party. The move came after it came to light that they had a meeting with main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu last weekend.

Ferhat Yaşar / Gazete Duvar

Turkish opposition Democracy and Progress Party’s (DEVA) 13 Istanbul district heads on Oct. 25 resigned from their party, arguing they were not being heard by the party management.

In a press conference held in Istanbul, Esenyurt district head Halis Kahriman said they lost their trust to the management.

“If you are establishing a political party in Turkey, if you trust yourself and your team, you will enter the elections with your own logo. If you do not have this courage, if you do not trust the society, if you do not trust the voters, you cannot be successful. Sorry. As a matter of fact, at this point, the DEVA Party has become an association, not a party,” Kahriman said, criticizing entering the general elections under the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) list. 

The move came after it came to light that 13 district heads who resigned from the party had a meeting with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu last weekend. 

“There will be a mass resignation on Nov. 18. We will attend a new party with 20,000 people. Negotiations continue. We met with the CHP, and AKP. We haven't made our decision yet,” Kahriman told Gazete Duvar.

The total number of resignations reached 500 when district board members were included.

In a tweet, Kahriman said their resignation was already known before their meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu.

“Ignore the voices of the organizations. Then they say it is a shame (to meet with Kılıçdaroğlu). You are the one doing the shameful thing. We would like to ask Mr. Chair (Ali Babacan): Was it more important for your friend to be a member of parliament than the future of Turkey? We are not doing politics to elect his friends as MPs. We do politics for the nation,” he added.

After the meeting came to light, DEVA Party deputy chair İdris Şahin said, “It’s a pity... It didn't suit you, Mr. Kemal!”

Main opposition Nation Alliance’s Felicity Party, Democrat Party, DEVA Party and Future Party did not enter the 2023 general election with their own lists, but rather nominated their deputy candidates under the CHP list amid worries that they would not garner enough votes in a constituency to have their candidates elected and that they would split opposition votes.

The CHP received 25.41 percent of the votes, ending up having 169 seats in the parliament out of 600. 38 deputies out of 169 were from other alliance parties with 15 DEVA deputies.

Ali Babacan launched his Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), meaning "remedy" in Turkish, in 2020, eight months after he resigned from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) over "deep differences."

Babacan is a founding member of the AKP, which has ruled Turkey since 2002, served as economy and then foreign minister before becoming deputy prime minister, a role he held from 2009 to 2015.

(English version by Alperen Şen)