The opposition Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that he aims to garner more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round of the presidential elections.
Kılıçdaroğlu made remarks made on broadcaster Halk TV during the program “Leaders’ Table” (“Liderler Masası” in Turkish) on March 23. Asked if he will meet with Homeland Party chairman Muharrem İnce, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “Mr. İnce is the leader of a party. I respect all parties. Of course, the decision (to run as a presidential candidate) is within his discretion. But our aim as the Nation Alliance is to win in the first round and not tire Turkey with a second election. We don’t want to lose even one day, one hour. We want to enact some special laws with regards to the earthquake region as soon as possible.”
Asked by journalist İsmail Küçükkaya if he will contact İnce amid criticism that he is splitting the opposition’s votes, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “Of course, I have visited parties and continue to do so. I will also visit Homeland Party.”
Earlier this week, İnce applied to the High Election Board (YSK) to file his presidential candidacy. In the 2018 elections, İnce had run as the CHP’s presidential candidate and received 30 percent of the votes.
A presidential candidate must receive at least 50%-plus-one vote to win in the first electoral round, otherwise, a second round is held.
In response to Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments, journalist Candaş Tolga Işık said that he contacted İnce and asked about the meeting request. Işık said that he was told by İnce, “I would accept the meeting request and would listen to what he (Kılıçdaroğlu) would say with pleasure.”
During the program on Halk TV, Kılıçdaroğlu commented on several other issues, such as the economic problems Turkey is facing, the criticism levied against the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), and the rebuilding of new homes for earthquake victims.
Reiterating that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) channelled 418 billion dollars to affiliated business groups, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “(When I am chosen), I will bring them (government officials) to book. I will take that 418 billion dollars and bring it to this country. No international court has ever said yes to the robbing of a state. We know where this abducted money has gone to, including Germany.”
“We will restore Kızılay’s former spirit. We will rebuild Kızılay in line with its establishment purpose. I am promising that we will hand it over to its former owners, those doing voluntary work, those not seeing it as a means for rent-seeking.”
Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the current government for planning to receive payment from earthquake victims for the houses it has promised to build. “You cannot sell houses to earthquake victims. What a shameless situation. My promise is that after I become the president, no money will be taken from anyone whose house has collapsed (during the earthquakes). We will enact a special law with regards to this (earthquake) region,” Kılıçdaroğlu further said.