By Ismet Özçelik, writing from Ankara / Türkiye
Meral Akşener was the loser in the last meeting of the Table of Six.
A meeting between Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Good Party Chairman Meral Akşener, CHP Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and CHP Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş preceded the meeting.
The vice presidency for İmamoğlu and Yavaş was announced to the public following Akşener’s request. This provided Akşener, who had left the Table two days ago, an ‘honorable return’ to the Table.
Afterwards, the 6 constituents of the Table of Six convened. The meeting took a long time again.
I called my acquaintances from these parties. They said this time the minor parties had some objections in the meeting. So we can say that there are ‘many tables’ within the Table.
A crowd gathered around the Felicity Party while the meeting was in progress. It was like, ‘Whoever dissolves the Table of Six can’t get out of here’.
In the end, an interim remedy was reached: Akşener accepted Kılıçdaroğlu’s candidacy for the presidency, while İmamoğlu and Yavaş, whom Akşener said she wanted to be the candidate, will be vice-presidential candidates.
I watched the footage of the announcement of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s candidacy over and over again. No one of the leaders of the 6 parties looked into the other’s eyes. All six were very nervous. There was no smiling and no holding hands. There was no pose similar to the previous ‘unity photo’. It was like a ‘forced marriage’.
Crack in article 12
The parties also agreed on a joint statement at the meeting. Interestingly, Kılıçdaroğlu said that the text contained 11 articles, but instead a 12-article version was announced. Kılıçdaroğlu seemed to be saying ‘I do not accept the 12th article’.
The 12th article includes the vice presidential appointments of İmamoğlu and Yavaş. This is what brought Akşener back to the Table. This article is ambiguous and leaves the timing of the appointment of İmamoğlu and Yavaş as vice presidents to Kılıçdaroğlu.
Ceremony in front of CHP headquarters
After the Felicity Party, a ceremony was also held in front of the CHP Headquarters. Imamoğlu and Yavaş were presented as ‘vice presidents’.
I asked my contacts from the parties the reason for this. They emphasized the unease in the Good Party and Akşener’s plight within the party and stated that the fact that İmamoğlu and Yavaş’s names were not announced in front of the Felicity Party caused discomfort.
Kılıçdaroğlu strengthened his position
Here are the outcomes of the happenings in the last week:
Loser: Meral Akşener. She is in a difficult situation both in terms of her voters and within her party.
The other loser: Ekrem Imamoğlu. He failed to achieve his goal to become candidate by aligning with Akşener.
Winner: Kılıçdaroğlu. He got his presidential candidacy accepted. He overcame Akşener’s objections. He neutralized his rival Imamoğlu and strengthened his position.
The table’s minor partners are happy too.
That’s the situation for now. So, has the dust settled at the Table of Six? It doesn’t seem so. Everyone is quoting the words of former president Süleyman Demirel: ’24 hours is a long time in politics.’
Which side is Kılıçdaroğlu on?
The election is two months away.
Meanwhile, a new world is being formed. The ranks are determined based on this. This will also be a major determinant in Türkiye.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s side is clear. But that side seems to have no future.
The situation at the parties’ grassroots
The temporary dissolution of the Table of Six has brought a fact to light: There is a lot of tension between CHP and IYI Party voters.
CHP supporters think ‘The Good Party bites the hand that feeds itself’.
The Good Party supporters, on the other hand, say ‘I would rather chuck my ballot away than vote for Kılıçdaroğlu’.
These are the signs that relations live on borrowed time.
Who is happy?
With the restoration of the Table of Six, the opposition has overcome an obstacle for now.
The Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization and the PKK are the happiest about this. They are counting their chickens before they hatch. They are rejoicing on social media.
The public is aware of the ‘forced marriage’. We are going to see what its response will be.
Still remember that: The Republic of Türkiye is a state that has overcome great difficulties. Regardless of who takes power, The Republic of Türkiye has red lines. Türkiye does not give in to terrorism. Türkiye will not allow FETÖ to be inserted into the state once again. Türkiye will not allow PKK to be revived.
The US is also aware of these and it is mirrored in their reports.