Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş released statements on their social media accounts after their meeting in Ankara. The mayors reiterated their support for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the main opposition Nation Alliance.
The move came after İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener signaled to leave the alliance over not agreeing upon Kılıçdaroğlu's presidential candidacy. Akşener instead called İmamoğlu and Yavaş to run for the office.
Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Mansur Yavaş on March 3 said, "In our statements we have made until today, we have said that we will not act outside the will of our chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. We are still on the same position. We hope that the Nation Alliance will continue on its way with all its stakeholders."
Bugüne kadar yaptığımız açıklamalarda Genel Başkanımız Sn. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’nun iradesi dışında hareket etmeyeceğimizi belirtmiştik. Aynı çizgideyiz.— Mansur Yavaş (@mansuryavas06) March 3, 2023
Temennimiz, Millet İttifakı’nın tüm paydaşlarıyla yoluna devam etmesidir.@ekrem_imamoglu
Ekrem İmamoglu, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, said, "As the son of CHP and the Mayor of the Nation Alliance, I have no doubt that Kılıçdaroğlu, who represents our will at the alliance table in the unity that our nation desires, and the Nation Alliance will grow exponentially."
İmamoğlu stated that the National Alliance took the heavy responsibility of transitioning to a democratic society, and it will not leave people “hopeless and alone.”
Millet İttifakı halkımızın içinden geçtiği zor bir dönemde ağır bir sorumluluk alarak devleti etkin ve demokratik, toplumu huzurlu ve zengin kılma iradesiyle kurulmuş bir siyasi birliktir. Milletimize çaresiz, umutsuz ve yalnız olmadıklarını göstereceklerine inanıyorum.— Ekrem İmamoğlu (@ekrem_imamoglu) March 3, 2023
Additionally, İzmir, Mersin, and Adana mayors shared their support for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in their social media accounts by pointing out the “need for unity.”
The CHP mayors also meet with Kılıçdaroğlu on the party headquarters on March 4 before the CHP's General Executive Board (MYK) meeting that will be held regarding to İYİ Party's new position.
In a statement after the meeting, Deputy Chairman for Local Governments Seyit Torun said that 11 CHP mayors conveyed their support to their leader Kılıçdaroğlu.
Halil İbrahim sofrasıdır bizimki; hiç eksilmesin, hep artsın. Halil İbrahim bereketi hep olsun. pic.twitter.com/RCjzM049jh— Seyit Torun (@Seyit_TORUN) March 4, 2023
Akşener on March 3 publicly rejected Kılıçdaroğlu's presidential candidacy despite other parties in the alliance agreed upon him, saying his candidacy is being imposed on the İYİ Party.
Akşener said she was supporting CHP mayors İmamoğlu and Yavaş as candidates amid polls that indicate they could perform better against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"İYİ Party has been forced to an imposition in a grabbing way, and forced to make a choice between death and malaria," Akşener said, referring to Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.
She called Yavaş and İmamoğlu to take on the role and nominate themselves, but both mayors once again announced their support for the CHP leader.
CHP, İYİ Party, Felicity Party (SP) and Democrat Party (DP) founded the Nation Alliance prior to the 2018 elections. Later, Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party and Future Party joined the alliance.