What to Expect from Turkey’s New Secular Leadership
Turkey’s opposition Republican People‟s Party (CHP) has been undergoing an important and profound transformation since May 2010, which began with the resignation of Deniz Baykal, the party‟s chairman for more than 15 years, as a result of sex scandal allegations. Following Baykal‟s resignation, Kemal Kilicdaroglu was elected as the new chairman of the CHP. A former deputy chairman, he rose to fame after a series of public debates in 2008 in which he successfully challenged two senior members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on corruption allegations. In fact, Kilicdaroglu was such a popular figure within the party, that during the CHP rally on May 22, 2010, he was elected to chairmanship by winning 1189 votes out of a possible 1197. About 6 months later on November 3, Kemal Kilicdaroglu made his first major overhaul of the party‟s leadership by reassembling the Central Executive Committee (CEC) with younger and lesser known members; a move, which was interpreted as the „revolution of the RPP progressives‟. On December 18, following the intensification of the disputes between the CHP‟s „old guard‟ and the „progressives‟, the party undertook an extraordinary general meeting, which took a further step towards the complete rectification of the party assembly along progressive lines, furthered with yet another change in the party‟s CEC on December 25.
Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 2 No. 2