Dissident mayor says Kılıçdaroğlu has a chance of beating Erdoğan only at CHP congress

On the 10th day of his march, Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan came to the CHP headquarters, reiterating his demand for CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s resignation. Özcan said that the only elections where Kılıçdaroğlu has a chance of beating President Erdoğan is at the CHP general congress.

Duvar English

Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan on July 12 completed his march in front of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) headquarters in the capital Ankara which he had started from Bolu with the demand that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu resign.

Özcan’s march titled “Justice and Change” lasted 10 days. The mayor had wanted to hold a meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu, but the CHP leader was at Silivri Prison, visiting jailed MP Can Atalay.

Özcan’s march came after he was referred to the CHP High Disciplinary Board for his expulsion from the party. Özcan is known for his harsh criticism against Kılıçdaroğlu and raised his tone especially after the latter lost the presidential election to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the second round of the race on May 28.

Özcan addressed his supporters from the top of a bus in front of the CHP headquarters on July 12. During Özcan’s speech, slogans of “Dictator Kemal” were shouted.

“We have given a chance to the chairman (Kılıçdaroğlu) for 13 years during which he has lost 11 general and local elections as well as referendum; enough already, enough…You are not a democrat; you are just a chairman who is afraid of his critics, party members, whose operating time is over, and who needs to relinquish the office.”

Özcan argued that unless there is a “change” within the CHP, the party might even lose Ankara, Istanbul, Hatay and Antalya municipalities in the local elections that will take place in March 2024.

“With this mentality, if we also lose those municipalities, Mr. Kemal would not have the face to go out to the street. I make a historic call to him. Mr. Kemal, pull yourself together. Announce that you will quit immediately. Announce the date of the general congress (of the CHP), that you will not be a candidate (for party leadership). Revise the party program. Say, ‘I am leaving at the end of October,’ relieve us.”

“You were unable to beat (Erdoğan) at the age of 75; will you be able to beat him at the age of 80? …Are we going to change the voters for you? Are we going to find the voters with whom you will win? With this mentality, Mr. Kemal would beat Recep Tayyip Erdoğan only at the CHP general congress. He would not beat him anywhere else.”

At the end of his speech, Özcan threw a chair towards the CHP headquarters from the top of the bus, in a symbolic move calling on Kılıçdaroğlu to leave the chair to someone else. “Get off that seat (of the chairmanship); take this chair, go and sit at your home, care for your grandchildren,” he said.

Following his speech, Özcan ended the march and left the scene.