The leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in Turkey's parliament, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is alleged to promise former President Abdullah Gül to nominate him as a presidential candidate in the upcoming 2023 election, according to a pro-government Turkish journalist. Kılıçdaroğlu denied the allegation one day later.
Daily Hürriyet columnist Abdülkadir Selvi, who came up with the allegation in his column on Sept. 23, also argued that the 2023 presidential elections might be held at an earlier date.
In his piece, Selvi in sought to shed light on the preparations of former Erdoğan allies to establish new political parties. He suggested that former Economy Minister Ali Babacan will make the announcement in December. It has been rumored that though Babacan will be the leader of the party, former President Abdullah Gül is the mastermind behind the idea.
Selvi wrote there was talk about a promise made to Abdullah Gül by the CHP leader that Gül would be the joint candidate. The columnist pointed out another possible contender to be the presidential candidate was Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. "While preparations are ongoing to found the Gül-Babacan party, several people were contacted and told Abdullah Gül would be the joint candidate for president" Selvi claimed.
"They were also told such a deal had been struck with the CHP and Kılıçdaroğlu promised them Gül would be their joint candidate" he added. Did the CHP leader make a promise ahead of time to Gül for a joint candidateship?" the columnist asked.
Selvi also reminded that as Gül's nomination was being discussed before the last previous general election, the CHP grassroots had fiercely reacted to this name. He could well provoke the same reaction this time again. Selvi urged Kılıçdaroğlu to make a statement explaining the situation.
Kılıçdaroğlu's statement came on September 24. He said, "I did not make promises to anyone for presidential candidacy. The CHP leader refuted the allegations adding that "such a prospect was not possible."
Abdülkadir Selvi replied to Kılıçdaroğlu in his column. "Kılıçdaroğlu was quite clear when he denied the allegations. He did not hide anything and was open and sincere."
"We haven't even reached the election process yet. Kılıçdaroğlu said. There's no election preparation on that matter. But people come up from time to time and declare they will run for office in the media. We are watching them just as everybody else does. It is not up to me alone to decide on this". Kılıçdaroğlu also pointed out that their corporate identity was very strong and the CHP was not a one-man party. He said they would discuss such questions within their party organs.