Leaders of opposition alliance to meet after split
Leaders of Turkey's opposition alliance are expected to meet on Saturday after one of the group's main parties quit the bloc amid disagreement over who should run for president in a national election scheduled for May.
Meral Aksener, leader of the nationalist Good Party, the second biggest in the alliance, announced on Friday the party was leaving the bloc, refusing the possible candidacy of CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and proposed one of the mayors of Ankara and Istanbul run instead, as opinion polls showed they would win by large margins against Erdogan.
But mayors Imamoglu and Yavas rejected the offer, and stood by Kilicdaroglu.
The CHP leader himself replied to Aksener in a video saying there is no room for political games in the alliance and signaled that more parties could join the bloc.
The mayors met with Kilicdaroglu on Saturday morning during a meeting with other CHP mayors, but made no comment.
The leaders of the Nation Alliance are expected to meet at 17.00 Istanbul time, to decide on the roadmap to elections, now that the Good Party is gone. Deva Party, Future Party and Democrat Party had all declared allegiance after Aksener quit the Alliance on Friday.
Erdogan's popularity had been dipping amid a cost of living crisis even before last month's earthquakes. However, analysts said the opposition disagreement benefited the ruling alliance of Erdogan and his nationalist ally MHP.
"Clearly this unexpected development hands Erdogan and Bahceli a tremendous psychological victory, as well as reinforcing the belief that the opposition is incapable of dealing with the challenges of governing Turkey," said Atilla Yesilada, analyst at GlobalSource Partners.