Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has once again called on the government to bring forward all three elections slated to take place in 2019, including local, parliamentary and presidential polls, in a bid to avoid further deterioration of democracy in the country.
“Today Turkey is not being governed. I know their [ruling Justice and Development Party – AKP’s] biggest anxiety. The economy will worsen… I challenge them,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk on Oct. 26.
“We are ready and we will get it,” he vowed.
His call came amid ongoing resignations by AKP mayors, with Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek recently announcing that he would also resign soon.
“The mayors that were elected by half of the population should govern, but what we see is that those mayors are either being dismissed or forced to resign. Why are we making this call? In order to save the honor of democracy,” he said.
“A method that is not present in the law is adopted. You say ‘resign or else…’ Can there be dismissal through blackmail? It has come to a point where democracy is over. There is a diktat regime in the country,” he said.
“I am trying to save the honor of democracy. Let’s bring forward the elections. There is no need to wait 17 more months. If we reschedule them to earlier dates and conduct them in a democratic manner, then democracy will win,” he said.
He also proposed to make a constitutional change in order to ease the process of holding elections earlier than planned.
“They say 367 votes are necessary. Let’s make a constitutional change,” he said, referring to the number of votes needed to pass a bill in the 550-seat Turkish parliament.
The AKP has recently tried to reshuffle the party organization ahead of the 2019 triple elections in order to avoid what AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calls “metal fatigue.” Erdoğan says the resignations are related to metal fatigue within AKP administrations and is part of “regeneration efforts.”
“There is no such thing as metal fatigue,” Kılıçdaroğlu stressed, claiming the resignations are the result of “inner party clashes.”
“Why would there be such a thing [as metal fatigue] among mayors? There are prosecutors, there is a ministry. What could it not do? If they cannot do anything, you will not present that person again as a candidate,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu believes the resignations were instructed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “in order to cover up corruption.”
“The one who has come with an election will go with an election. If there is corruption, what should be done is clear. You are destroying this process. Some of them you dismiss by appointing trustees, others you force to resign,” he added.
“The corruption files cannot be hidden,” he said.