Opposition right-wing Good (İYİ) Party Economic Policy head Bilge Yılmaz on July 21 apologized in a statement for not preventing Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidacy.
Geride bıraktığımız başkanlık seçimlerini muhalefet kaybetmiştir ve Millet İttifakı’nın üyeleri olarak bunun sorumluluğunu üstlenmekten hiçbirimiz kaçamayız.— Bilge Yılmaz (@ProfBilgeYilmaz) July 21, 2023
Milletimize ödemek zorunda olduğumuz bir özür ve özeleştiri borcumuz var. Bunu yapmadan, ne halkımızın temsilini…
Kılıçdaroğlu was the joint presidential candidate of the main opposition Nation Alliance, which included the Good Party, and lost the election to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by receiving 47.82 percent of the votes in the second round of the race.
In a Twitter statement, Yılmaz said he apologizes from the nation for not preventing the 74-year-old leader’s candidacy. “I ask for this apology not only because we lost the elections, but also because I couldn't fight enough with the methods Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu used to get the candidacy and win the elections.”
“We owe our nation an apology and self-criticism. Without doing this, we can neither represent our people nor present a roadmap to the people. A name/team that reduced the election campaign to populism, became the person it criticizes and could not produce genuine policies should not have determined the fate of Turkey. Selling the hopes of the people of this country behind closed doors as if they were their personal property and doing politics behind the backs of their partners fits neither democratic practices nor political ethics,” Yılmaz said referring to Kılıçdaroğlu’s “secret” agreement with far-right anti-immigrant politician Ümit Özdağ.
This week, Victory Party (ZP) leader Ümit Özdağ announced that his party was promised to have three ministries, including the interior, and the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) in exchange for the support of Kılıçdaroğlu in the second round. Kılıçdaroğlu neither denied nor confirmed the agreement and said “the protocol was signed between us. It's not right for me to talk about that protocol.”
“Unfortunately, an interest group with a few people in the opposition does not hesitate to use the strong will for change in society for their own ambitions and political success. I see that there are many such problems that we need to solve. We must completely reject the lynching culture that dominates the opposition, the cunning of media manipulation, stigmatizing people with conspiracy theories, discrediting campaigns, and the tendency to mistake intrigue as politics,” Yılmaz added.
An important ally of the Nation Alliance, İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener on March 3 publicly rejected Kılıçdaroğlu's presidential candidacy despite other parties in the alliance agreeing upon him, saying his candidacy is being imposed on the İYİ Party.
One day later, Akşener said she was supporting CHP mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş as candidates amid polls that indicated they could perform better against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"İYİ Party has been forced to an imposition in a grabbing way, and forced to make a choice between death and malaria," Akşener said, referring to Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.
She called Yavaş and İmamoğlu to take on the role and nominate themselves, but both mayors announced their support for the CHP leader.
She later returned to the alliance after the leaders agreed upon the vice presidencies of İmamoğlu and Yavaş. Akşener later expressed that she was happy with this solution. Other five party leaders in the alliance would have also been vice presidents should Kılıçdaroğlu assume power.