Turkish opposition CHP crisis attempt to reshuffle politics – columnist

A crisis that struck Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over claims a senior party member had secretly met President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was part of a plot against the president and two high-ranking opposition figures, Hürriyet columnist Abdülkadir Selvi wrote on Tuesday.

The columnist, who is known to have close links to Turkey’s ruling party, suggested the plot aimed to benefit Ekrem İmamoğlu, Istanbul’s new CHP mayor elected this year who has been praised in both national and international media as a politician with the potential to successfully rival Erdoğan.

The row in the secularist party started after Rahmi Turan, a columnist for Sözcü daily, wrote that Erdoğan had met with a senior figure from the CHP secretly in early November. The party’s leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu responded that the CHP had been facing attempts from the “presidential palace” aiming to provoke a crisis within the party. 

After days of speculation, Turan said that the person who had met Erdoğan was Muharrem İnce, the CHP’s candidate in the presidential race in 2018. İnce denied the claims and said that he had been targeted by enemies in his own party. 

According to Selvi, the media report was part of an operation that targeted Kılıçdaroğlu, İnce and Erdoğan. “Erdoğan was at the centre of the plan,” he said, adding that while the president successfully foiled the plot, Kılıçdaroğlu failed to do so. 

“In fact the target of the plan is to redesign politics before 2023,” Selvi said, referring to the year when the next presidential elections are scheduled. “Already red carpets have been laid in front of Ekrem İmamoğlu,” he said.