Following meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu, İnce insistent on not withdrawing from presidential race

After holding the highly expected meeting with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Homeland Party leader Muharrem İnce likened himself to the Turkish folk hero Köroğlu and said that he will not step down from the presidential race.

Kılıçdaroğlu (R) and İnce (L) hold a press conference in front of the Homeland Party headquarters on March 29.

Duvar English

Homeland Party chair Muharrem İnce has said that he will not withdraw his presidential candidacy after holding a meeting with opposition Nation Alliance’s candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

İnce, a former deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu held a meeting at the Homeland Party’s headquarters in the capital Ankara on March 29. Following their one-hour meeting, the two addressed the press, with İnce saying that it is vital for the current rulership to change.

“This (President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan should go. This Erdoğan is tired, arrogant, does not believe in the science of law. He should not run the country for five more minutes. We express our opinions in a very open way,” İnce said.

Despite these remarks, when asked by a journalist if he would withdraw from the presidential race, İnce said “No” and likened himself to Köroğlu, an epic hero in the Turkic culture.

“No, I didn’t say such a thing. We are fighting twirlingly like Köroğlu. Everyone is firing upon us and we will continue to take them on twirlingly, like Köroğlu,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu said that he and İnce discussed Turkey’s problems and possible solutions to overcome them during their meeting. “We are preparing a draft law with regards to the earthquake region. I have given detailed information to Mr. Chairman (İnce) with regards to that. We are trying to expand the Table of Abraham (‘Halil İbrahim Sofrası’ in Turkish), trying to be together. The problems we are going through are far beyond being individual problems,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The Table of Abraham (“Halil İbrahim Sofrası”) carries the connotation of a bountiful table and describes a host or home whose table is always overflowing with food and welcome.

İnce's candidacy was finalized on March 27 after he was able to garner more than 100,000 signatures from voters -- a requirement to be a presidential candidate in Turkey for politicians whose parties have no group in the parliament. 

There are concerns that İnce’s presidential candidacy might split the opposition's votes. However, he argues that Turkey needs to get rid of both the government and the main opposition. 

In the 2018 elections, İnce had run as the CHP’s presidential candidate and received 30 percent of the votes. On March 20, he claimed that he will garner 60 percent of the votes in this election which is scheduled to be held on May 14.

After losing the 2018 presidential elections, İnce's relationship with the CHP began to deteriorate. In 2021, he resigned from the party in order to found his "Homeland Movement." In the same year, he and several former CHP members formed the Homeland Party as an alternative "Kemalist" party.