Turkey’s main opposition leader calls on all parties to end ‘one-man regime’

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has called on all of the country’s parties to work toward ending the "one-man regime’’ and establishing a strong democratic system.

"This is a clear and open call to all political parties. We are ready for everything. Let’s do away with this one-man regime and establish a strong democratic system,’’ left-wing news site Artı Gerçek quoted Kılıçdaroğlu as saying during his party’s group meeting on Tuesday.

The CHP leader pointed to the ongoing Gezi park trial, where 16 leading civil society figures are accused of attempting to topple then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by organising and financing nation-wide protests in 2013, as an example of the government grinding an axe with those holding opposition views.

All 16, who are facing life imprisonment if convicted, deny the charges against them. 

"Those who took part in the Gezi protests are our youth. Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and Eren Erdem are all being detained in vain,’’ the CHP leader said, referring to top activists and lawmaker on trial in the ongoing case.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the case was unfounded, adding that a door had been opened for Turkey with the opposition’s victory in the Sunday’s mayoral revote in Istanbul. 

“Everything ended up fine,’’ Kılıçdaroğlu said, in an apparent reference to the slogan of CHP Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who was elected mayor of Istanbul following months of controversy surrounding an initial vote on March 31, which the CHP candidate score a narrow victory that was annulled by the country’s election council.

“If the whole world is discussing Turkey today, it is due to the 16 million people of Istanbul,’’ Kılıçdaroğlu said.  “This democratic saga is one of the most important in our political history.’’

İmamoğlu’s victory in Istanbul on Sunday marked the end of 25 years of rule by the Islamist AKP and its predecessor.

Turkey’s ruling AKP lost five of Turkey’s most populous provinces in the March 31 polls, however, the loss of Istanbul is the hardest blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who launched his political career in the megacity.