Leaked video of İmamoğlu, CHP executives leads to growing conflict within party

An unidentified person has secretly recorded and leaked an online meeting attended by Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and CHP executives who have been signalling the need for a change in party leadership since Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential election loss to Erdoğan. The CHP officials are seen to be in a preparation to collect signatures to summon the Party Assembly (PM) for an extraordinary meeting.

Duvar English

A 14-minute long footage of a Zoom meeting attended by Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) executives has been secretly recorded and leaked by an account on YouTube.

Apart from İmamoğlu, the following names are seen having participated in the meeting: CHP parliamentary group leader Özgür Özel, parliamentary group deputy leader Gökhan Günaydın, lawmaker Engin Altay, and Party Assembly (PM) members Tekin Bingöl, Onursal Adıgüzel and Bülent Tezcan.

In the meeting, the CHP executives are talking about the preparation of a text calling on the Party Assembly to convene for an extraordinary meeting.

The participants ponder about who will sign the relevant text, when it will be submitted to the CHP headquarters and how it will be released to the press. The names in the meeting are known to be demanding a “change” within the CHP following party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s defeat against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In the video, Gökhan Günaydın says that in order to summon the 50-member Party Assembly, 13 members need to sign the relevant document and seven people have already given their signatures.

The video has been released by an account that calls itself “The Truth of the Change” which was opened on YouTube on July 18. The account refers to the online meeting as a “secret coup meeting of İmamoğlu with the A Team of change” and calls it a “betrayal of the century” and a “historical betrayal to Kılıçdaroğlu.”

İmamoğlu commented on the issue and said that although the meeting is not secret, they will look into how the video was leaked. “The party’s issues are talked with the party’s executives, Party Assembly members, former or new lawmakers, and district heads. There is nothing more natural than that. I can say that since the (May) elections, we might have had close to 200 meetings of such. There is no secrecy to that,” he said.

Gökhan Günaydın told Sözcü TV that the meeting took place 3-4 days ago and included Party Assembly members who decided to summon the PM for an extraordinary meeting.

Kılıçdaroğlu finds the meeting 'unacceptable'

Meanwhile, the CHP’s Central Executive Board (MYK), whose members are selected from the Party Assembly, held a meeting on July 19. Some of the MYK members demanded the dismissal of Özgür Özel and Gökhan Günaydan from their posts due to their participation in the online meeting, according to backstage reports. Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly found the relevant meeting “unacceptable,” but demanded from his officials that discussions about the party do not take place in front of the public eye.

Following the MYK meeting, party spokesperson Faik Öztrak said that the CHP management was not aware of the existence of such a meeting and they do not approve of meetings “which do not comply with our party’s customs and are not ethical.” “We say ‘Yes’ to the competition, but we do not find it right that our party is worn out. The (CHP) headquarters was not informed of the meeting,” he said.