Turkey, Politics

‘Turkey must focus on the economy, its real agenda’

Tackling economic problems must be politicians' top issue, says main opposition leader after Istanbul mayor takes office

Baris Gundogan   | 18.04.2019
‘Turkey must focus on the economy, its real agenda’


With last month’s local elections largely concluded, Turkey must now focus on the economy, the nation's real agenda, the leader of the main opposition party said Thursday.

 “How to resolve the [economic] crisis must be the main topic for politicians,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), said in a press release.

He urged the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party to help find common solutions to Turkey’s economic issues, adding: “We don’t just point to a problem if there is one, we share our view on how to overcome the problem.”

CHP leader's remarks came a day after Ekrem Imamoglu, the party’s candidate in last month’s Istanbul elections, officially became mayor of Turkey’s largest city, home to some 16 million people.

Addressing a lingering issue from the elections, Kilicdaroglu also called on the Supreme Election Council (YSK) to certify the election of mayors who had lost their posts under decrees in the wake of the defeated 2016 coup.

“You allowed them to enter the election, and you must award the winners of the election with their certificates,” he said.

In the wake of the defeated coup by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- which killed 251 people and injured some 2,200 -- thousands of people suspected of FETO ties lost their posts under state of emergency decrees.

Four candidates of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the eastern Van and southeastern Diyarbakir provinces had their certificates of election revoked as they had lost their positions by decree.

“If we are defending democracy, we have to defend the right, law, and justice not only for ourselves, but also for people who do not think like us and who are different from us,” Kilicdaroglu said, urging the election authority to reconsider its decision.

Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes nationwide on March 31 in local elections to choose mayors, city council members, and other officials for the next five years.

Striking a non-partisan tone, Kilicdaroglu stressed that once they take office, the CHP candidates are not the mayors of the party, “but the mayors of that city.”

Despite Imamoglu officially taking office as Istanbul mayor, his election still faces legal challenges from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party, citing illegalities at the polls.

*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

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