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Kılıçdaroğlu seeks support of Turkish youth in runoff, works to devise new strategy

Kemal Kilicdaroglu

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the presidential candidate for the opposition and leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has called on the younger generation in Turkey to support him in the upcoming presidential runoff as he sought to devise his new strategy for the second round.

Turkey held parliamentary and presidential elections on Sunday. Although most public surveys showed Kılıçdaroğlu running neck-and-neck with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or defeating him in the first round, Kılıçdaroğlu finished the race lagging behind Erdoğan.

According to preliminary unofficial results, while Kılıçdaroğlu received 44.8 percent of the nationwide vote, the support for Erdoğan stood at 49.5 percent, which requires a runoff since neither of the candidates was able to exceed the 50 percent threshold.

The CHP leader on Tuesday asked Turkish youth in a series of tweets to support him in the runoff scheduled for May 28 so that he can lead the people of Turkey out of “a dark tunnel.”

“My dear young people. … The greatest truth is that … those who desire change in this country now outnumber those who don’t. … Are you aware that your youth will not come back? We have 12 days. We can get out of this dark tunnel [if we act now],” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Meanwhile, the T24 news website reported on Tuesday that İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş, both from the CHP, were heading to the party’s headquarters in Ankara for a strategy meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu later in the day.

İmamoğlu’s team also reportedly told T24 that a rumor that the mayor would request to be given control of the new election campaign management meeting was not true.

CHP vice chairmen and advisors are expected to participate in the meeting that will address the details of the election campaign to be conducted until May 28, with a particular focus on strategies to gain nationalist votes that went to Sinan Oğan, the presidential candidate who secured 5.2 percent and finished third in Sunday’s election.

Oğan on Monday said he could only support Kılıçdaroğlu in the runoff if he agrees to offer no concessions to a pro-Kurdish party.

Oğan, who was nominated by a group of ultranationalist parties, received nationwide support that was more than expected, which led to comments that his support for either Erdoğan or Kılıçdaroğlu will determine the outcome of the runoff.

According to analysts, both Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu will try to court Oğan, but the conservative Erdoğan has the upper hand.

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