End of the road for Turkey’s opposition alliance?
Just ten weeks before Turkey’s presidential election, the Turkish opposition alliance split up on Friday due to disagreement over who should be its joint candidate. Five parties had previously agreed on CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, but İyi Party leader Meral Akşener has rejected his candidacy and is instead backing the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara, also members of the CHP. Commentators are appalled for different reasons.
Erdoğan will benefit the most
Akşener doubts that Kılıçdaroğlu will be able to secure a majority but that’s far from a foregone conclusion, says T24:
“For the first time, the polls are pitting just two presidential candidates against each other. Previous polls always pitted Erdoğan against several candidates. ... This means we can’t use previous polls to predict whether Kılıçdaroğlu will win or not. ... So Erdoğan in particular should be pleased with [the current situation]: it means that his failure to show leadership in the earthquake has faded into the background, the opposition agenda has split off from Turkey’s real agenda, and if the idea that Turkey will face uncertainty over who leads the country after the election spreads among voters, then he will benefit most.”
CHP suffering from a chronic disease
The CHP is to blame for the break-up of the alliance, columnist Fatih Çekirge fumes in the pro-government Hürriyet, directly accusing representatives of the party:
“Kılıçdaroğlu, founder of the alliance and leader of the largest party at the table, did not manage this process as he should have. ... For 20 years you haven’t been able to win an election. Now you have two mayors elected with the votes of the National Alliance. Why don’t we talk about that? Why don’t we look at the polls? ... A ‘CHP disease’ that never goes away is behind this, my friends. In the CHP, whose congresses and presidential elections I have been following for 40 years, I have seen this so many times.”