CHP presidential candidate reveals his first 100-day plan
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP)'s presidential candidate Muharrem İnce delivered another rousing speech in the southern city of Hatay to a fully packed city square on Tuesday.
İnce for the first time revealed his first 100-day plan during the speech. As the first of his promises, Ince said he will lift the state of emergency announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Jul. 20, 2016, five days after the coup attempt, and passed by the Turkish Parliament.
İnce appeared to draw new lines of attack on Erdoğan in his Hatay rally, first bringing to mind some recent former Turkish political leaders, such as former president and prime minister Süleyman Demirel, and former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan and describing them as statesmen.
İnce then turned his gaze to Erdoğan, calling him someone who backstabbed his close friends along the way and ended up becoming a loner. İnce said Erdoğan had become a much different person than when he rose to power 15 years ago, and drew a contrast between himself and Erdoğan by emphasizing Erdoğan's lavish palaces and lifestyle.
As his third promise, İnce vowed to return the Central Bank's autonomy. Erdoğan's treatment of the Turkish Central bank and apparent pressure on it to refrain from raising interest rates has been a hot topic of discussion in Western economic capitals, and has been blamed in part for a recent economic downturn that has seen the Turkish lira lose around of a quarter of its value since last year.
Next, Ince promised to select a diverse array of ministers from all walks of life so that they can "embrace everybody, represent all (Turkey's) people."
İnce turned to sports next, a serious topic in a country where football in particular is followed fanatically. When Erdoğan began his premiership in 2002, İnce said, Turkey took third place in the World Cup in South Korea. But Turkey has not made it to the current World Cup finals ongoing in Russia. "Sports became politicized" under Erdoğan, said İnce.
The CHP candidate added that he will appoint a new ambassador to Damascus within his first 100 days. Hatay is one of the cities most affected by the civil war in neighboring Syria. Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Damascus in 2012, during an early period of the Syrian uprising, citing the Syrian regime's treatment of protestors.
İnce also promised to immediately reinstate those who were fired by presidential decree under the state of emergency but have still not been faced with a court case.
İnce restated his challenge to Erdoğan to meet face him on television for a live debate, a call the CHP candidate has been making since the beginning of his campaign, leading the crowd to begin chanting 'coward Erdogan.' İnce responded that he enjoyed the chant and asked the crowd go at it again in a more organized fashion. This time the crowd grew louder calling President Erdogan a 'coward' in the country now widely accepted to be almost entirely under his authoritarian control.
With five days to Election Day, İnce continues to draw even larger crowds and give entertaining speeches in an average of three or four rallies per day.