In an interview where he said, “Alevism is a part of Islam; it is not a separate religion,” he also noted that they are now promoting freedoms rather than the status quo (Bugün, July 23).
Kılıçdaroğlu also called on the government to abolish the “coup law,” the military court of appeals and the supreme military administrative court.
Even though he acted reluctantly and hesitantly on the subordination of the General Staff to the Ministry of Defense, arguing that this is a controversial issue, Kılıçdaroğlu’s statements could be interpreted as promises that all democrats would endorse.
Kılıçdaroğlu is slowly repressing the culture of intra-party opposition that emerged as a symbol of dynamism. For example, to those who said they admire former CHP leader Deniz Baykal and former Secretary-General Önder Sav for their skills in managing the party’s branches, he said, “There you go, take Adnan Keskin.” Keskin was elected to head the İstanbul branch of the CHP, which is the most important branch. It could be said that he now acquired greater legitimacy and strength thanks to the latest party congress.
As noted by Kılıçdaroğlu, the perception that the CHP is unable to offer projects remains a huge problem. In addition, the argument that people from different political backgrounds will join the party and that this will promote its image did not happen. The CHP cannot resolve the issue that it is perceived as a party that does not offer any concrete project by admitting right-wing politicians.
A party that is unable to get rid of the spirit of pro-guardianship Kemalism and serves as a tool of the status quo cannot come to power. The CHP may become successful only if it restructures itself as a social democrat party relying on universal standards and pays attention to projects rather than slogans. Every political actor in a position of leadership may want to become independent from the powers and groups that support it or that “manufactured its agenda” in the first place.
Kılıçdaroğlu was reminded of an approaching danger suggesting that the Kurdish and Alevi supporters are about to change their minds, and he may now want to set his own game within the party because he is now a strong political leader and figure. But this is not that easy.
“With a new CHP,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, “we do not mean a party detached from its roots. Its history and past includes Adnan Menderes, Celal Bayar, Refik Koraltan and Hasan Ali Yücel as well as leading figures of the national liberation war.” However, most of these names joined other parties because they felt they no longer had any chance of advancing their political careers within the CHP. Whether this chance will be there in the new CHP remains to be seen.
We have witnessed that Muhammet Çakmak was strongly vetoed by the delegates because of his religiosity, despite attempts to appeal to people from different social segments. It is not possible to believe that this party will abolish the military judiciary just because one of its deputies, Ergenekon suspect İlhan Cihaner, said “I am a socialist” in response to a question suggesting that he was accused of being part of the deep state. Is it meaningful if a party used by Ergenekon suspects as a safe haven to avoid prosecution says it is not defending the status quo?
In the same interview, Kılıçdaroğlu also draws attention to the importance of local administrations. I think this is one of the best options that the CHP could rely on. The most influential factor that took the AK Party to power was the strong performance of the Welfare Party (RP) in local administrations. The people took this as a point of reference. The CHP may appeal to the people by realistic, consistent and comprehensive local administration strategies and projects.
If Kılıçdaroğlu offers an apology for the repressive actions and behavior by the leading names of the CHP tradition, which he refers to as their tradition, his party could then be called the new CHP. If it seems utopic to give up on the six arrows, at least an arrow of democracy could be added. The CHP will never become civilian unless it rejects its past. We all love the Yogi Bear that will be distributed to the voters. However, unless he acts like Lucky Luke, who draws his gun very fast, the CHP’s historical ghost will haunt Kılıçdaroğlu despite all his efforts.