Turkey, Muharrem İnce

Muharrem İnce, Erdoğan’s former rival for Presidency, leaves CHP

He was opposition candidate in the 2018 presidential elections, finishing 2nd behind Erdoğan. İnce accuses CHP’s leader of authoritarianism.

Muharrem İnce, who was Erdoğan’s longtime rival for the presidency in the elections held in June 2018 in Turkey, confirmed today his departure from the CHP (Republican People’s Party) – the main opposition party in the country – in order to lead his own political movement, thus making official what was long ago an open secret in the world of Turkish politics.

“I separate myself from the fake members of the CHP,” İnce said during a press appearance in Ankara, reiterating his accusations to the main opposition party of having abandoned its founding principles and values,​​and criticising once again the CHP leadership for clinging to power and not accept internal dissent.

Precisely İnce, who in August last year launched his Bin Günde Memleket Hareketi (“Movement of the Fatherland in 1,000 days”) in anticipation of what would be his own party – for now called Memleket Hareketi (Movement of the Fatherland) – is presented himself as an option to “save the country from both this government and this opposition” for those who disapprove of Erdoğan’s AKP policies, but who also do not see the CHP as an alternative.

For this reason, the already ex-CHP member assured today that he will never ally himself with the People’s Alliance, an electoral coalition formed by the AKP and its nationalist MHP partners, while reiterating his forecast that his new political party will achieve more of 50% of the votes in the next elections.

Three MPs and 350 CHP members resign to join İnce

Just a few days ago İnce already anticipated today’s announcement by declaring that three CHP deputies who resigned would join the ranks of the new party. “I am not worried about founding a party with few deputies. We will create a political structure that will be able to obtain 50+1% of the votes”, İnce said at the time, anticipating his next departure from the CHP.

The resignation last week of these three deputies – Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Avni Aksoy and Özca Özel – also alleging a deviation of the CHP from its values, also coincided with the resignation of another 350 members of the CHP from the party delegation in Yalova, a provincial capital south of Istanbul that is İnce’s hometown, and for which he was a deputy in parliament between 2002 and 2018.

Message to Kılıçdaroğlu: “You have destroyed democracy within the party”

İnce, who tried to challenge Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership in the CHP in September 2014 and February 2018, lashed out again accusing him of having become a dictator within the main opposition party. “You have destroyed democracy within your party, so how are you supposed to bring democracy to this country?” He said.

In 2018 Muharrem İnce ran as a joint opposition candidate to be Erdoğan’s rival in the Turkish presidential elections, garnering just over 30% of the vote, well above the electoral results obtained by the CHP in the parliamentary elections under the leadership of Kılıçdaroğlu, whom critics accuse of having become an authoritarian character who refuses to resign despite having already lost several elections.