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Main opposition leader expresses willingness to run for president

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he is ready to run for president in 2023 if nominated by the opposition parties.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks came during an interview with Reuters published on Monday.

“Of course, five party leaders pronouncing me as candidate would be an honor. It also means they have trust,” he told Reuters in his office on the 12th floor of CHP headquarters on the outskirts of Ankara.

It is “very obvious and very clear” that whoever they choose will become president, Kılıçdaroğlu, 73, said.

On Feb 12, the first meeting of the leaders of six Turkish opposition parties to strategize about the future of the country’s system of governance took place in Ankara. The meeting received mixed reactions from Turks amid criticism that not inviting the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to the meeting meant ignoring Turkey’s Kurdish population.

Among the participants of the meeting were Meral Akşener from the nationalist Good (İYİ) Party; Temel Karamollaoğlu from the Islamist Felicity Party (SP); the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA)’s Ali Babacan; the Future Party (GP)’s Ahmet Davutoğlu; and the Democrat Party (DP)’s Gültekin Uysal in addition to Kılıçdaroğlu.

The CHP and the İYİ Party had established the Nation Alliance before the elections of 2018. It is not yet clear whether the four other parties will join this alliance or continue under another name.

Although the opposition leaders did not mention President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by name at this month’s meeting, their clear goal is to find a way to work together to unseat Erdoğan, expected to be the presidential nominee of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

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