Kilicdaroglu denies rift with Aksener, says principles are more important than names

Kilicdaroglu denies rift with Aksener, says principles are more important than names
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Main opposition CHP Chairperson Kemal Kilicdaroglu said the opposition alliance has not yet started discussing names over who would be designated as a candidate against President Tayyip Erdogan in the upcoming elections

The joint presidential candidate of the opposition parties to run against President Tayyip Erdogan in next year’s elections will be designated unanimously by the opposition alliance, but the leaders are yet to start discussing potential names, main opposition CHP (Republican People’s Party) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said on Monday, during a press briefing with internet journalists.

Kilicdaroglu said that Erdogan deliberately pressed the opposition alliance to declare a candidate against himself to make it look like incoherent, but the leaders of the six opposition alliance, colloquially expressed in the Turkish media as “Table of Six” gave more importance to focus on principles, rather than names.

Kilicdaroglu also talked about the rumored rift between him and Good Party leader Meral Aksener. He denied tensions and said he talked to her regularly.

Kilicdaroglu earlier said no party leader should interfere in the inner politics of other parties implying Aksener’s quick support for Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu.

Aksener earlier announced openly that she preferred one of the mayors of Ankara or Istanbul to be nominated as a candidate, while some senior figures in the CHP say they want Kilicdaroglu to run against Erdogan.

Several senior figures from the Good Party expressed concerns over Kilicdaroglu's ability to attract conservative voters.

Kilicdaroglu, who belongs to the Alevi minority that makes up 15-20% of Turkey, has always avoided being a polarizing figure. Although he could not increase the votes for his party (which has not been able to increase its votes for many years), it has drawn a different voter profile in this regard by making alliances with right-wing parties or sometimes by nominating right-wing candidates in every election.

Kilicdaroglu also said he followed imprisoned Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas’ words about the upcoming election closely. Demirtas is wrongfully held in prison, he said.