Six opposition political parties in Turkey named Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to face Erdogan in the upcoming elections. His nomination for the presidential candidate of a six-party coalition that hopes to end President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rule in the 2023 general election.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is a Turkish economist, retired civil servant and social democratic politician who has been leading the main opposition party in Turkey for more than a decade.
Born in 1948 in a rural village in eastern Turkey, Kılıçdaroğlu studied economics at Ankara University and worked as a bureaucrat in various state institutions, including the Ministry of Finance and the Social Security Administration. He joined the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in 1978 and became a member of parliament for İstanbul in 2002.
Exposing Erdogan’s Corruption Scandals
As a lawmaker, he gained fame for exposing corruption scandals involving Erdoğan’s government and his family members. He also advocated for social justice, secularism, human rights and democracy. In 2010, he was elected as the leader of the CHP after his predecessor resigned following a poor performance in a constitutional referendum.
Since then, he has led the CHP through several elections and referendums but failed to defeat Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been ruling Turkey since 2002. He has faced criticism from some party members and analysts for his lack of charisma, vision and strategy.
Historic Victory in Local Elections
However, he has also managed to broaden the appeal of the CHP by forming alliances with other opposition parties, including nationalists, Kurds and Islamists. In 2019, he oversaw a historic victory for his party in local elections that saw it win control of major cities such as İstanbul and Ankara.
In March 2023, he announced that he would run for president as the candidate of the Nation Alliance, a coalition of six parties that oppose Erdoğan’s authoritarianism and economic mismanagement. He said he would offer a new social contract to Turkish citizens based on peace, justice, and prosperity.
He faces an uphill battle against Erdoğan, who remains popular among his conservative base despite growing discontent over inflation, unemployment, and human rights violations. Erdoğan has also used his control over media, judiciary, and security forces to crack down on dissent and opposition.
Kılıçdaroğlu has vowed to restore democracy, rule of law and press freedom if elected president. He has also promised to improve relations with Turkey’s neighbors and allies, especially within NATO and the European Union.