On Wednesday, Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Meral Aksener, leaders of the opposition parties CHP and IYI, both stood before a large crowd of people in the western province of Denizli ahead of the March 31 local elections at their first joint rally for the Nation Alliance.
Both leaders responded with humor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reference to opposition supporters as “terrorists” and his reference to “wealth queues”.
IYI leader, Aksener, started her speech by saying, “Oh! People of Denizli, whom President calls terrorists, how are you?” She was referring to the President calling pro-opposition citizens terrorists. “It was such a bad joke,” she added. “The president of the country calls 18 million Turkish citizens terrorists. Terrorists who are only trying to make a living!”
Kilicdaroglu, CHP leader, blamed Erdogan for making fun of Turkish citizens, referring to Erdogan’s description of people in queues of state-run bazaars as wealthy. “If people in the queues are rich, why are you not there?” Kilicdaroglu asked. He called on people to snub the ones who were making fun of Turkish citizens.
Erdogan had blamed markets for the rise in food prices and caused turmoil for what he called “food terrorism” in early February. “They have begun to play games in Turkey. The prices have begun to escalate. This is terrorism,” Erdogan said. Subsequently, he ordered the setup of state-run bazaars, selling vegetables at discounted prices.
Erdogan insists on labeling HDP “terrorist,” while denying he said it for the voters
On Wednesday, Erdogan denied labeling the supporters of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) as terrorists, saying, “I have never called the HDP voters terrorists. However, you, HDP seniors are terrorists! HDP municipalities transfer state funds to PKK, the pro-Kurdish terror organization. That is why the judiciary replaced HDP mayors. If they do the same again, I believe the judiciary will replace them again.”
Nationalist Party (MHP) leader, Devlet Bahceli, and later his election ally, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, used the defamatory statement, “alliance of dishonor” to denounce the Nation Alliance. Erdogan blamed the Nation Alliance for being supported by terrorist groups during an election rally on February 17, 2019.
To run in the upcoming elections, the Nation Alliance was formed between opposition parties, Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Good Party (IYI), while the People’s Alliance was formed between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Great Union Party (BBP).
These alliances were unexpectedly formed for the first time in 2018 to compete in the presidential and parliamentary polls. Since then, members of the two sides have harshly criticized each other.