Presidential candidate Kılıçdaroğlu gives speech with his wife and CHP mayors İmamoğlu, Yavaş

Giving a speech in front of his party CHP's headquarters, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who is running for the office, said "I'm not the candidate, the candidate is all of us," and mentioned the names of some of the known and unknown victims in the latest decades in Turkey.

From left to right: CHP Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş, CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, CHP Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu in front of the CHP headquarters

Duvar English

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has announced his presidential candidacy. Kılıçdaroğlu will be the joint presidential candidate of the Nation Alliance, the coalition of the six opposition parties that want to bring parliamentary system back.

Kılıçdaroğlu on March 6 was announced as the candidate in front of the Felicity Party (SP) headquarters after the alliance meeting.

Later, Kılıçdaroğlu came to the CHP headquarters in the capital Ankara.

He took the stage with his wife Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu, and CHP Istanbul and Ankara Metropolitan Municipalities Mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş who will be vice presidents should Kılıçdaroğlu come to power.

Kılıçdaroğlu said he is the representative of a change rather than being simply a candidate. “I and our alliance are committed to governing this country with wisdom, virtue and merit,” he said.

“I'm not the candidate, the candidate is all of us. I was a guest of İbrahim, whose electricity was cut off in Ankara. Mr. Ibrahim is the candidate. I visited the family of Rıdvan, a mine worker who lost his life in the Bartın mining disaster. Emrullah, son of Rıdvan, is the candidate. I hugged Emine Şenyaşar. Emine is the candidate,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the some symbolic victims in Turkey.

Emine Şenyaşar has been fighting for justice for her husband and two children who died in a 2018 attack that involved AKP MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız's bodyguards and relatives.

“The young guy who said 'I have my mother, brother and father (under the rubble). They make a sound, there is also heat in the thermal camera, but there is no equipment to save them,' is the candidate. All our earthquake victims are candidates,” Kılıçdaroğlu said referring to the devastating Feb. 6 earthquakes that killed more than 40,000 people.

“I visited Sultan Kara and her family, who were expelled from being a teacher during the February 28 process. Ms. Sultan is the candidate. I went to the house of Kuddusi Okkır, (who committed suicide while being tried in the Ergenekon case). Mrs. Sabriye Okkır, who welcomed me with fortitude, is the candidate. Ayşe Hanım, the wife of Sinan Ateş, is the candidate,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Sinan Ateş, former Grey Wolves head, was assassinated by two people on a motorcycle while leaving a building on Dec. 30, 2022, in capital Ankara. Far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) officials, including its leader Devlet Bahçeli, avoided offering their condolences to Ateş during this period. Some of Ateş’s family members claimed that he was murdered within the knowledge of MHP officials.

“Veras, the daughter of Tayfun, who was wrongfully imprisoned in the Gezi Park Case, is the candidate,” Kılıçdaroğlu added. 

Thousands of people supported Kılıçdaroğlu in front of the CHP headquarters.

After Kılıçdaroğlu’s speech, Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş said in a tweet that “There is mercy and abundance in unity. We thank our honorable chairs for their trust. We are walking towards Turkey's second century together with hope and happiness.”

Similarly, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said “We believe that, under the leadership of our president Kılıçdaroğlu, as the Nation Alliance, we will reach the bright tomorrows that each individual of our country has long deserved, as soon as possible.”

İmamoğlu also thanked Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener for her “sincere consultation.”

İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener on March 3 announced her departure from the opposition Nation Alliance due to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s expected candidacy for the 2023 presidential elections, one day after the alliance's last meeting. She said that she would be in the alliance if CHP's Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş would be instead nominated for the role, adding Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy was being imposed on their party.

On March 6, İmamoğlu and Yavaş visited Akşener at the İYİ Party headquarters. After the meeting, İYİ Party spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu announced that Akşener will participate in the Nation Alliance leaders meeting on the same day and will return to the alliance if İmamoğlu and Yavaş are included in the new cabinet as vice presidents.

The Nation Alliance leaders agreed on İmamoğlu and Yavaş being vice presidents. The five leaders other than Kılıçdaroğlu will also become vice presidents should they assume power.

İYİ Party leader Akşener said “We will write history with the will of our nation.”

Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu said "Our joint presidential candidate is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu."

Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party leader Ali Babacan said “Our presidential candidate is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. As our citizens, who waited for hours for our meeting to end, said, ‘Together we will win.’ Now is the time for Turkey to come together. We will mark our historic success on election night.”

Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu said "We will win together, there will be no losers in this victory."

Democrat Party (DP) leader Gültekin Uysal said "Our effort is so that the youth of the country can eat, dream, our children can be born without debt, our nation can live without fear, everyone can talk, this land can be fertile again, and it can produce traders and farmers... And so our candidate is democracy, our candidate is the republic, our candidate is justice, our candidate is freedom. Our candidate is not a person, it is the nation."

Lastly, Kılıçdaroğlu said "I would like to thank the honorable presidents of the Nation Alliance for their trust. Now we have a long way to walk hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. We will crown our republic with democracy. Here we go!"

The Nation Alliance is a unique political coalition in Turkey, bringing six different opposition parties under one goal. The alliance includes main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), right-wing İYİ (Good) Party, Islamist Felicity Party (SP), right-wing Democrat Party (DP), Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party, and Future Party. The last two parties' leaders were senior AKP figures. Both of them resigned from the ruling AKP in 2019.

The alliance aims to bring the parliamentary system back, instead of today's presidential regime.

The 2023 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, which are expected to be held on May 14, mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Turkish Republic.