President Erdoğan says CHP leader Özel ‘couldn’t stomach’ his visit to CHP

Commenting on the recent alliance debates regarding the AKP, MHP, and CHP, President Erdoğan stated that CHP leader Özgür Özel “couldn’t stomach” his return visit to the CHP headquarters.

Duvar English

Turkey’s President, and Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 15 stated that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel “couldn’t stomach” his return visit to the CHP.

Answering the questions of the journalists on his return from the G7 summit, Erdoğan said, “We wanted to bring a softening, a politeness to politics by making a return visit. But those who do not understand this politeness held a press conference in Istanbul and they were obviously under the influence of some people (referring to Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu). So this is not softening. It is not bringing a new beginning to politics. They obviously could not digest our return visit.”

His comments came after the recent alliance debates regarding the AKP, the MHP, and the CHP.

One day after Erdoğan visited the CHP headquarters and met with Ayşe Ateş, the wife of the former Grey Wolves head Sinan Ateş who was assassinated in 2022, government-ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said on June 12 that it was MHP’s “sincerest wish” that a broad-based alliance between the AKP and the CHP is formed.

Responding to Bahçeli, Özel said, “Let me make an invitation to Mr. Bahçeli. If he is unsatisfied with his alliance, he can join our alliance. The name of our alliance is Turkey Alliance. No one should propose any alliance to us because those responsible for today will bear this responsibility. (Bahçeli) should not push his accomplice toward us after bringing the country to this point.”

Commenting on these remarks, Erdoğan said Bahçeli made a statement “with a statesman's approach, calmly, without giving any opportunity for any discussion.”

“If the head of the CHP had been able to stomach our return visit, he would not have felt the need to make such a statement. In the face of such a statement, as the President of the Republic, as the head of the Justice and Development Party, I would find it wrong even to respond to it. But no matter what they do. As the People's Alliance, we will maintain the same stance, the same solidarity,” he added.

On June 11, President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a return visit to main-opposition CHP leader Özgür Özel, marking the first visit to CHP’s headquarters after 18 years.

Moreover, he welcomed Ayşe Ateş and her children at the presidential palace complex. Ateş is the wife of Sinan Ateş, former head of the ultra-nationalist far-right Grey Wolves connected to the MHP.

Some MHP and Grey Wolves members were reportedly involved in the assassination whereas Bahçeli denies the allegations.