İnce expected to remain in presidential race

Following a meeting between Homeland Party Chair Muharrem İnce and the joint candidate of the Nation Alliance and the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Turkish media reported on March 30 that it is unlikely İnce will give up his presidential bid.

İnce, a former member of the CHP member, who ran against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the 2018 presidential polls, has garnered the support of more than 100,000 people and secured his renewed bid to compete for the presidency in the May polls.

However, he is under fierce criticism from his former party members as well as other opposition figures for disrupting the unity of the opposition against Erdoğan. A much-anticipated visit by Kılıçdaroğlu to İnce took place under these conditions late on March 29 in Ankara.

“We are trying to expand the [opposition] table. We want to protect the rights of our citizens. The problems we are facing are the problems of Türkiye and not our personal matters. Mr. İnce is as sensitive as I am to these problems,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his brief statement.

İnce, for his part, repeated that the alliances should focus on values rather than interests and implied that the six-party opposition alliance cannot deliver even though it comes to power.

“Our values are very clear. We won’t allow any discussion on [modern Türkiye founder Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk. We are against terror, against the PKK, the FETÖ and Hizbullah. No step back on the rights of women, and we are committed to sending the refugees back to their country,” he said.

He also stressed Erdoğan should not run Türkiye even for five minutes. But on a question, İnce said he did not hint that he would withdraw his candidacy, although he is firmly against the continued leadership of Erdoğan.

In a televised interview later yesterday, İnce said the pollsters show his vote around 16 percent in the presidential polls. The opposition alliance says İnce’s candidacy puts the winning chances of the presidential race in the first round at potential risk.