Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul Mayor and vice presidential candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu has been focusing on public meetings with Istanbulites rather than holding rallies after the first round of presidential election.
During his visit to a bazaar in Istanbul’s Tuzla district on May 20, one citizen asked İmamoğlu “why did you include the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the Table (of Six),” referring to the main opposition Nation Alliance, online news outlet Medyascope reported.
In response, İmamoğlu said “We have five partners (parties).” The citizen replied “No, how did (the HDP) elect MPs if they are not in cooperation with you?”
İmamoğlu then replied “They elected MPs with the votes they received. What does this have to do with us? They teach you politics wrong, you come here and make propaganda. What are you trying to say to me? What would you say to the seven million people who voted for the HDP?”
The Nation Alliance includes the CHP, Good (İYİ) Party, Felicity Party, Democrat Party, Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) and Future Party.
On the other hand, the leftist Labor and Freedom Alliance includes Green Left Party (YSP), Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP), Labor Party (EMEP), Social Freedom Party (TÖP), Workers' Movement Party (EHP) and Socialist Assemblies Federation (SMF). The YSP became the HDP’s back-up party over closure risk.
The latter alliance did not field a candidate in the presidential race to support CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The same citizen then claimed that she was not elected as a ballot box observer by the CHP because she wears a headscarf. “If there is such a situation, I will fire them from the party,” the mayor responded.
“Our main problem is whether your child can go to school with a full stomach or not,” İmamoğlu added.
During the election campaign the ruling People’s Alliance executives and Erdoğan have accused the opposition of “collaborating with the terrorist organizations and their political affiliations” in order to gain more votes in the elections. He even circulated a montage video depicting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) singing the CHP’s election song.