News / Europe

    Turkish Opposition Party Focused on Changing Public Image Before Election

    Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of Turkey's main opposition People's Republican Party (File Photo)
    Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of Turkey's main opposition People's Republican Party (File Photo)
    Dorian Jones

    Turkey's ruling AK party is facing a rejuvenated opposition in this month's general election. Under new leadership, the People's Republican Party, or CHP, has made a political about-face. Discarding its image as a staid pro-statist party, it's now seeking a new identity as an advocate of democracy.  

    On Tuesday the CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu was greeted enthusiastically by thousands of Kurds in Diyarbakir- the largest city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast. Kilicdaroglu used the meeting to stress his party's new image. "We have changed," he said. "This is the new People's Republican Party. We are fighting for a freer Turkey, a more democratic country, and for peace for all our people in the country."

    The fact that Kilicdaroglu is even visiting the Kurdish region is a political sea-change. During the last general election campaign, his predecessor Deniz Baykal did not set foot in the region and refused to even respond to the call for greater Kurdish rights.

    But under Kilicdaroglu's leadership, the CHP has embraced key demands of the country's Kurdish movement over education, greater autonomy, and electoral reform.

    In a Kurdish cafe in Istanbul, his speech is being closely followed. Kilicdaroglu's Diyarbakir speech was cautiously welcomed by one man in the cafe. To him, the surprise with CHP was about their stance against the Kurdish issues. He said they are better than the ruling AKP. Now Kilicdaroglu comes and says he will solve the Kurdish problem.  He said he hopes it will be like that, but he will have to wait and see.  He said he will vote for the independent Kurdish candidates, but personally if he had another vote he'd vote for CHP.

    Political scientist Cengiz Aktar says he is cautious about the change in the CHP, but he sees it as an important step. "This first steps are important of course within the party there are still various voices in the party that are adamant against any modern solution to the Kurdish conflict. That being said, while CHP is trying to change the Kurdish issue, the AK ruling party is changing in the wrong direction," he said.

    For decades, the CHP, created by the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, had the reputation as a party of the state. But to enhance its newly found democratic credentials,  the CHP this past weekend unveiled a detailed manifesto for democratic reform, not only for Kurds but also including reforms of the judiciary.

    Political columnist of the Turkish daily Milliyet, Semih Idiz, says such reforms may help garner votes across a wider swathe of Turkish society. "There are many people who were looking for a party to be able to vote for. Anybody with slight left leaning social democratic inclination really had no one to vote for in this country," he said.

    But, the party is still is struggling to discard its old image. Observers warn Kilicdaroglu still has a political mountain to climb if it wants to dent the Prime Minister's commanding lead in the polls, especially in a time of unprecedented economic growth.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora