Turkish main opposition leader once again signals candidacy for presidency

Turkey's main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has reiterated that he is ready to put forward his candidacy for the presidency if there is a “consensus” in the Nation Alliance.

Kılıçdaroğlu addresses reporters in this file photo.

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Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has once again signaled his candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections.

Asked by reporters if he will put forward his candidacy, Kılıçdaroğlu said he is happy to take on the position if there is “consensus” within the Nation Alliance.

“It is of course an honorable duty if the alliance comes to be in consensus. If a decision of early elections is taken, the alliance would determine its candidate in a fast way. I guess that every leader has a name in mind,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, as he addressed TV channels' Ankara representatives on Dec. 24.

Once again calling on the government to declare early elections, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “84 million people of Turkey are in a wrecked state, like a truck whose brakes have failed. We are not hopeless; we would get the wheels turning again at most in six months [should the CHP come to power].”

Kılıçdaroğlu also said that he will hold talks with the officials of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) next week upon the latter's request for a meeting.

“We are the only party that is listening to all political parties. I believe that this is very important in terms of democratic culture. Why are [philantrophist] Osman Kavala, [former HDP co-chair] Selahattin Demirtaş in jail? And then they [gov't officials] say 'There is democracy.' This is a total deception,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Although elections are scheduled to be held in June 2023, the opposition Nation Alliance, which is spearheaded by the CHP and the right-wing Good (İYİ) Party, has been calling on the government to hold early elections, citing the current economic crisis. The People's Alliance, consisting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has been insisting that the elections be held as scheduled. 

While the opposition has not yet named anyone as a potential candidate, İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener has been voicing her candidacy for the prime ministerial elections after Turkey switches back to a parliamentary system from the current executive presidential one.