İmamoğlu or Yavaş would've won presidential election against Erdoğan, suggests CHP leader Özel

Turkish main opposition CHP leader Özgür Özel has stated that instead of Kılıçdaroğlu, mayors İmamoğlu or Yavaş would have won the 2023 presidential election against Erdoğan, journalist Fatih Altaylı reported.

From left to right: Ankara Mayor Yavaş, former CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu, İstanbul Mayor İmamoğlu, and Kılıçdaroğlu's wife Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu (AA)

Duvar English

Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel has suggested that their mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş would have won the 2023 presidential election against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

In his June 22-dated column, journalist Fatih Altaylı reported his meeting with Özel one day before the Eid al-Adha holiday.

“Özel (said he) found Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's presidential candidacy in the last election very wrong and shared this with him. He said, ‘If Ekrem İmamoğlu or Mansur Yavaş had been the candidate, Erdoğan would not be sitting in the office right now’,” Altaylı said. 

After a controversial candidacy process, Kılıçdaroğlu became the main opposition’s presidential candidate in 2023.

The party leaders in the Nation Alliance, which included six opposition parties including the CHP, eventually agreed on Kılıçdaroğlu’s candidacy despite then-İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener’s temporary disagreement.

Some experts and political figures were against his candidacy, saying he was not the right one to compete against Erdoğan.

In the second round of the race, Kılıçdaroğlu received merely 47.8 percent of the votes, paving the way for Erdoğan’s re-election.

In November, Kılıçdaroğlu also lost the CHP congress after his 13-year rule as Özgür Özel became the new CHP leader.

Altaylı also said Özel regarded that the vice-presidential candidacies of İmamoğlu and Özel in the 2023 election were “an operation to end their political future, but it didn't work.”

Before the 2023 May presidential elections, Akşener on March 3 publicly rejected then-CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidacy despite other parties in the alliance agreeing upon him, saying his candidacy was being imposed on the İYİ Party.

One day later, Akşener said she was supporting Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş as candidates amid polls indicating they could perform better against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. She later returned to the alliance after the leaders agreed upon the vice presidencies of İmamoğlu and Yavaş.

“Özgür Özel has no interest in running for the Presidency. This is what I understand from his approach. In the next presidential election, CHP's presidential candidate will either be Ekrem İmamoğlu or Mansur Yavaş. Maybe both,” Altaylı added.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş, from the CHP, have been enjoying their second term after their re-election in the March 31st local elections.

Özel also commented on his meeting with President Erdoğan and addressed the criticisms. 

“I have never been an AKP spokesperson, and I cannot be a partner in the AKP's 22 years of accumulated sins and crimes. Today, we are the biggest party in Turkey, we are the leading party, and we have the majority of the municipalities. I met with the President to convey the problems of this majority and to talk about the works of our municipalities that are blocked by the government,” Özel told Altaylı.