Journalist Gültekin and CHP in fresh row over Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidacy

Turkish main opposition CHP has denied the remarks of journalist Levent Gültekin who argued that Kılıçdaroğlu became a presidential candidate "knowing he could not win." Gültekin said Kılıçdaroğlu told him that no one can save Turkey and that he has "no chance to prevent his own (presidential) candidacy."

Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) and journalist Levent Gültekin (R)

Duvar English

In a fresh row between journalist Levent Gültekin and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the party denied the claims of the former who argued that Kılıçdaroğlu was aware that he could not win the presidential election.

Gültekin told Medyascope news channel on July 11 that he had a meeting with CHP leader and presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in April 2022. Gültekin said the 74-year-old leader became a candidate in the presidential election, "knowing he could not win. This is not a comment, this is information."

According to the journalist, he told Kılıçdaroğlu that some people within the party had been working to make him the presidential candidate. “I said 'There is a scenario here and at the end of this scenario you become the presidential candidate and lose the election.'.”

“I said 'I didn't come here as a journalist. You have a child at my age. I came here as your son. Please... This is the last chance for the country, don't waste this chance (and don’t become a candidate).' Do you know what Mr. Kemal told me? 'The country is over, none of us has a chance to save,' he said,” Gültekin added.

“So I said, 'If you think so, why are you running (for the office)?' He said 'Levent, we really can't save the country.' Then I said 'Mr. Kemal, then don't be a candidate. Please!' and he replied 'Levent, I have no chance to prevent my own candidacy.',” Gültekin lastly said. 

Gültekin’s remarks stirred a huge reaction on social media as some people deemed it “conspiracy” whereas some people took it true and criticized Kılıçdaroğlu.

On July 12, CHP deemed Gültekin’s remarks “fictitious.”

In a statement, the party said “The dialogue expressed by Levent Gültekin and allegedly taken place with our Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is entirely fictitious. In the Republican People's Party, there is no power to determine positions or candidates from outside. Today's representatives of the heroes who founded the great Republic of Turkey from a country on the edge of the abyss will also get our country out of the bottleneck it has fallen into today.”

Kılıçdaroğlu lost the presidential election against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by receiving 47.82 percent of the votes in the second round of the race on May 28.