Homeland Party rejects collaboration with CHP, to field own mayoral candidates

CHP-splinter Homeland Party (MP) has announced that they would field their own mayoral candidates in the upcoming local elections. MP Chair Muharrem İnce said it was “not possible” for them to collaborate with the CHP because of their political stance. In response, CHP Spokesperson Yücel said the negotiations between the two parties reached “a point that our party base and organization could not accept.”

Duvar English

Homeland Party (MP) Chair Muharrem İnce on Jan. 26 announced that they would not collaborate with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the local elections to be held on March 31, 2024.

Speaking in a press conference in the capital Ankara, İnce said it was “not possible” for them to collaborate with the CHP because of their political stance. 

“How can we stand side by side with the CHP if it says 'yes' to Sweden's NATO membership and if it” collaborates with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party, İnce said, adding that they were “people of different worlds.”

“Homeland Party is the 3rd way (in politics). No one remembers laicism other than us. Laicism is a must. We do not have a province called 'Dersim', 'Dersim' is the name of the region. The name of the province is Tunceli,” İnce said, criticizing CHP leader Özgür Özel who called the province Dersim.

However, a 2014 video of İnce saying “We elected (Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu) from Dersim as the (CHP) leader. Is there any bigger apology than this?” went viral on social media.

The Alevi and Kurdish majority Dersim province was officially renamed Tunceli in 1935, as part of the effort to “Turkify” the region and pacify ongoing unrest. Locals still refer to it as Dersim, although Turkish nationalists deny the indigenous name.

İnce also said they were considering three people as Istanbul mayoral candidates, and they would name one of them in the upcoming week. He also named 13 provincial and district mayoral candidates.

On the other hand, CHP Spokesperson Deniz Yücel responded to İnce, saying the Homeland Party requested “a certain number of municipal council memberships and the mayorship of a metropolitan district in İzmir.”

“He made today's statement after the negotiations were stopped when the negotiations reached a point that our party base and organization could not accept. We know that the statements and criticisms he made today would never have been made if the negotiations had resulted positively. We leave the evaluation to the public,” Yücel added.

In the 2018 elections, İnce had run as the CHP's presidential candidate and received 30 percent of the votes. After losing the 2018 presidential elections, İnce's relationship with the CHP began to deteriorate.

In 2021, he resigned from the party to found his "Homeland Movement." In the same year, he and several former CHP members formed the Homeland Party as an alternative "Kemalist" party.

Despite initially running for the 2023 presidential election, he withdrew from the race three days before so that the main opposition “will have no excuses when they lose the elections.”

His Homeland Party received 0.92% of the votes in the 2023 general election, failing to pass the seven percent electoral threshold to garner parliamentary seats.