Kılıçdaroğlu says doesn’t consider election results as ‘defeat’

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has stated that he does not consider the presidential election result as a “defeat.” The main opposition’s candidate Kılıçdaroğlu, who lost the presidential race against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by receiving 47.82 percent of the votes, said receiving 40 percent of the votes would be considered as defeat.

Duvar English

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on July 20 said that he does not consider presidential election results as a “defeat.”

The 74-year-old leader, who lost the election against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by receiving 47.82 percent of the votes in the second round of the race, told Habertürk broadcaster if he received 40 percent of the votes, he would consider it as a defeat.

“There are multiple reasons why we couldn’t win. In small villages or towns our vote share is low. We haven't been there enough. This fault is ours. Citizens there did not suffer from inflation as much as the citizens living in cities. 25 million people voted for democracy (for Kılıçdaroğlu). Would you consider it a defeat if 48 percent voted for democracy?,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“Of course, success is winning. Elections were held in an undemocratic environment, practices contrary to human rights were made,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu also said they will win the 2024 local elections. 

“There was someone (Erdoğan) who broke the rules in the election. Local elections are different. It has its own internal dynamics. Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş are successful. I want them to be reelected as mayors (in Istanbul and Ankara). We will win the local elections. Don't worry. There were lies, frauds and immorality in the general elections. Were it not for them, we would have already won. If the ministers of the state defy the means of the state and speak against us, if fake videos are creted, if the state television broadcasts it for days (in favor of the ruling party), would you tell me, for God's sake, is this a moral thing? His (Erdoğan’s AKP) vote fell to 35 percent in this election. Did he (Erdoğan) win in the first round? Why are we not discussing this? Why (AKP’s vote share) drop from 49 percent to 35 percent? Is this success for Erdoğan?,” he added.

He also talked about the new series of special consumption tax (ÖTV) hikes and said “Let (the AKP declare elections now) and know their places. Why don't they? Let (Erdoğan) say that ‘I made such hikes, but the state is in danger again, vote for me again’.”

Kılıçdaroğlu also talked about the concerns within the party that demand change. 

“If our philosophy is to catch up with contemporary civilization, this philosophy will continue. However, there may be deficiencies in our program and institutional structure. For example, there may be a change in our party bylaws. We are not a leader party. Over time the party needs to be renewed. The party needs to be renewed by introducing new rules, eliminating the existing problems in the party, and taking into account the complaints of the members and deputies. We need renewal,” he said. 

"How can I change myself (from party leadership)? The (party) convention does. It is not right for me to end my own presidency," he added.

The CHP leader also talked about the leaked video of a 14-minute long footage of a Zoom meeting attended by Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and CHP executives who demand radical change within the party. 

“It is a matter that concerns not only me, but the party. After all, we can think of it as a meeting of friends who have worked for the party for many years. There are some ethically problematic sides (in the video). I don't find it right to talk about party issues on television (here). It bothers me that the CHP's internal problems are the subject of discussion when the country has such a serious problem, when the people are in a miserable condition, the economy is in such a state, the price hikes are going up. I warned all my friends about this. Of course, they can voice their criticism. Bringing the internal party discussions before the public is so wrong. You fight within the rules. If it is repeated, when the rule is broken, I do what is necessary. Every meeting must be held within ethical rules,” he said. 

Speaking about far-right Victory Party (ZP) leader Ümit Özdağ’s remarks who said he was promised to have three ministries and the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) if Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu assumed power, Kılıçdaroğlu said “It's not right for me to talk about that protocol. It is a protocol delivered to the honor of two people. I do not find explaining it morally correct. The protocol was signed between us. It was not open to the public.”

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.

Aside from the presidential election, the CHP received 25.41 percent of the votes in the May 14 parliamentary elections, falling short of expectations, ending up having 169 seats in the parliament out of 600 while leaving the majority to the ruling alliance. 39 deputies out of 169 were from other alliance parties, initiating the criticisms against Kılıçdaroğlu for allocating “too many” seats for “small” and “ineffective” parties.

Although there is a strong consensus for a need for change for CHP leadership, Kılıçdaroğlu has not shown any willingness in this regard.