Erdogan visits opposition party HQs first time in 18 years


After losing local votes, Erdogan makes his first visit to the headquarters of opposition parties in eighteen years.

Following his party’s shocking loss in the municipal elections held in March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his first visit to the headquarters of the opposition CHP party in eighteen years on Tuesday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last visited the opposition CHP party headquarters in 2006 when he was prime minister

When Erdogan was prime minister, he last paid the party a visit in 2006.

Erdogan and CHP leader Ozgur Ozel met for one and a half hours in the capital city of Ankara, more than a month after their initial meeting in May.

Following the municipal elections, Ozel’s CHP continued to rule over large cities like Istanbul and Ankara and even grew into other regions in Anatolia that were previously under Erdogan’s jurisdiction.

Following what some considered his biggest defeat since his Islamic-rooted AKP party won office in 2002, Erdogan has signaled a “softening” of his political stance.

Many pointed the finger at the lira’s sharp devaluation over the previous year and the country’s skyrocketing inflation rate, which is already around 75%.

Erdogan claims that the current constitution is a “product of the (1980) coup” and has long advocated for a civilian one. But in order to put a new charter up for vote, he needs the backing of at least 37 opposition lawmakers.

Ozel of CHP, meanwhile, seems unfazed by a new charter. He has maintained that it would be unnecessary and charged that the administration has not followed the terms of the current agreement.

It was anticipated that the Erdogan-Ozel meeting would focus heavily on the recent removal of an elected mayor from his position in the southeast, which is home to a large Kurdish population.

Mehmet Siddik Akis was the pro-Kurdish DEM party’s mayor of Hakkari, a province in the southeast. It has refuted the accusations made by the authorities that it has ties to the banned PKK Kurdish insurgents.

Protests broke out when Akis was imprisoned by a Turkish court earlier this month for offenses related to terrorism and replaced with a local governor chosen by the government.

Following the March local elections, in which the DEM party took control of 77 towns around Turkey, this was the first time a pro-Kurdish mayor had been removed from office.

The main opposition CHP and Erdogan’s AKP are the two largest political parties in the parliament, with DEM coming in third.

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