Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) has presented a detailed framework for its program ahead of the Nov. 1 elections, listing concrete and down-to-earth promises it says will solve problems in the divisive issues of democracy and the rule of law, the economy, foreign policy, education, as well as societal peace and the Kurdish issue.
While announcing his party’s election manifesto on Sept. 30 with the motto of “Turkey First,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu reviewed the last 13 years under rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which came to power for the first time in 2002, but failed to form a single-party government in the June 7 parliamentary elections despite winning consecutive elections in 2007 and 2011.
“The AKP, the party in power, brought the country to this point in 13 years. Forget about governing, they considered politics as a tool for personal enrichment,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, as he addressed a mass gathering at the Congresium Hall of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) on the occasion of the announcement.
He said neither the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), nor the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the other two opposition parties which managed to gain seats in parliament in the June 7 vote, was capable of governing Turkey.
“Only one party remains: that is the CHP,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, as the manifesto provided a long list which envisions both structural and functional arrangements in various fields from high judicial bodies to environmental protection and from cultural life to foreign policy.
“We will resolve the Kurdish issue through societal reconciliation. The center for societal reconciliation is the parliament; we will resolve it there. We have applied to resolve this problem. No party other than the CHP can solve this problem either” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
In the manifesto, under the title of “Societal Reconciliation and the Kurdish Issue,” the CHP suggested that discrimination and polarization has grown in every sphere of life during the AKP’s rule.
As part of its “Turkey Center Project,” the CHP promised to turn Turkey into a significant global logistical hub with high value-added potential. Within the framework of the project, the CHP envisions a total of $200 million in 20 years and the gradual employment of 2.2 million people.
According to the manifesto, in its first 100 days in power, the CHP will make arrangements to pay one wage bonus to pensioners during religious holidays; adopt a law on family insurance; end the subcontractor labor practice in public institutions and permanently employ existing subcontractor workers; make arrangements to waive at least 80 percent of the interest credit card and consumer loan debt; adopt a law on political ethics; form a final account commission in parliament; end the “Passolig” e-ticketing system for football matches; and postpone the repayments of loans used by university students until graduates are employed.
Kılıçdaroğlu especially appealed to the younger generations of Turkey who he said had been suffering most due to problems stemming from the grave complications generated by those problematic policies.
“We are dedicating this election manifesto to the young. The youth are the hope for tomorrow. But the youth are also partners of today. We are dedicating this election manifesto to the young who resist against pressure and who defend freedom. We are dedicating this election manifesto to the Ali İsmails and Özgecans,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, respectively referring to Ali İsmail Korkmaz, 19, who was beaten to death by a group of police officers and civilians in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir during the 2013 Gezi protests, and Özgecan Arslan, 20, a university student who was brutally killed in February after an attempted rape.
“Why the young? We say the young because they are paying the price for the errors made by elders,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.