Turkish main opposition leader starts consolidating support for presidential candidacy
An unusual call by Turkey's main opposition leader for the party officials to clarify their support in his favor was responded positively within hours by the mayors of the three largest cities.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP), said in his address to party officials in a meeting on Friday:
"We will defeat the enemies of the people together, and together we will liberate our people who is craving for freedom, righteousness and justice. I have to know in the process if you really stand by me. Some of you are just silent, and some of you are intentionally or unintentionally causing harm. It's time for you to decide. If you are with me, I want to feel that you are. I have to know that I can lean on you."
Kilicdaroglu's remarks came as he is seeking a consensus, within an opposition bloc of six parties, regarding support for his presidential candidacy in the coming elections.
His position has continued to be weakened in the past months as the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara have emerged in most polls as more popular candidates for CHP, although they have never expressed intention to run in the elections.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who earlier neither accepted nor denied the possibility of running for president as CHP's candidate, responded to Kilicdaroglu's call on Twitter:
"I stand by the chair of my party in every condition."
Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas, who according to almost all polls would be the most popular CHP candidate if he ran for president, said:
"I always stand by you for a future of justice and peace."
Izmir Mayor Tunc Soyer tweeted:
"I stand by the chair of our party for a Turkey of hope, peace and justice."