To replace Erdogan… Turkish opposition unveils its presidential candidate

As the Turkish street awaits the announcement of the name of the candidate the opposition will be betting on to replace Erdogan, who has ruled the country for 20 years, in one of the most important and exciting elections in the history of the country, Aynal Cevicoglu, an adviser to the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, told reporters: “The name of the presidential candidate will probably be announced sometime in February.”

This came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that presidential and legislative elections would be moved from June to May, which precipitated the movement of the main Turkish opposition, represented by a six-party coalition known as the Six-Party Alliance or the Six-Party Table.

The opposition alliance is seeking to craft a unified platform, but has yet to agree on a candidate to challenge Erdogan for the presidency.

Turkey’s two main opposition parties, the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the center-right nationalist Khair Party (MHP), have formed an alliance with four smaller parties under a platform that seeks to abolish Erdogan’s presidential system and return to a previous parliamentary one.

On Jan. 30, the leaders of the six opposition parties will reveal in two documents their proposals for a transition to a parliamentary system and their program for government, Jivecuz said.

Erdogan’s announcement that presidential elections will be held has confounded the undecided six-party alliance amid reports of divergences between the leaders of the alliance, which united in one front in hopes of presenting a strong rival that will end nearly two decades of rule by the conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to Turkey’s Ahwal-Turkiye newspaper.

Among the most prominent contenders for Erdogan in the presidential race was Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, a leading figure in the six-party Republican People’s Party (CHP), but he was excluded by court order, denied political participation and sentenced to two years in prison in what the opposition considered a fraudulent case.

Ali Babacan, a former minister and AKP leader who split with former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu from the ruling party, is also being touted as a potential candidate to challenge Erdogan. He has been willing to run officially if the six-party alliance endorses him, and if not, he will run on his own.

Other names circulating include that of CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, but he does not seem to be approved by the G6.

So far, the Table 6 coalition has not agreed on a particular candidate, and the decision to unveil its candidate next month seems to be an attempt to reassure his supporters and definitely put the floor under Erdogan’s attempt to confuse his electoral rules and show he has disagreements.

Recently, AKP leaders have stepped up their mockery of the six-party alliance, specifically those of Ahmet Davutoglu, regarding the powers of the 6th Table, should a joint candidate be nominated and win the presidency.

“Whether or not the joint candidate is one of the leaders, the 6th commanders will have the authority to sign and approve any strategic decision that will be issued by the Presidency of the Republic,” Davutoglu said.

The opposition accuses the Turkish president of causing the collapse of the lira and the unprecedented rise in inflation; because of its monetary policy interventions, and it has sabotaged the credibility and independence of the central bank by imposing forced interest rate cuts, and holding it responsible for the deterioration of citizens’ living conditions.

Erdogan’s personal ambitions have plunged Turkey into multidimensional crises, and foreign military interventions have strained the country’s budget and poisoned its foreign relations.

A number of opposition leaders asserted that Erdogan’s confrontational approach to Western and Gulf partners in recent years has severely damaged Turkey’s economy and caused the country to lose foreign investment.

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