Will the CHP Choose the Iyi Party or the HDP?

The CHP and the Iyi Party are trying to find a way to make not a broad but a limited cooperation and are seeking to find a proper and well-designed method to provide it.

Will the CHP Choose the Iyi Party or the HDP
Leader of the CHP Kemal Kilicdaroglu (right) and leader of the Iyi Party Meral Aksener (left) meet at Iyi Party headquarters in Ankara. Anadolu Agency

On Sunday 22 April, Turkey’s main opposition party CHP announced that 15 MPs had resigned and joined the Iyi Party. This action was taken under the conditions when it was not yet clear whether the Iyi Party could take part in the June 24 early elections. After this move by the CHP, it was announced that the Iyi Party could take part in the elections. This incident created a rapprochement between the two parties and turned into an official alliance in time. Nowadays, Turkey has been witnessing another rapprochement between the CHP and the Iyi Party and wonders whether it will turn into another pre-electoral alliance again.

Indeed, there have been some rumors of unofficial meetings taking place between the party officials for some weeks now. Some of these meetings have been verified by party officials, but it was emphasized that the agenda of those meetings were not related to local elections and possible alliances. Nevertheless, the leaders of the CHP and the Iyi Party had their first official meeting last week.

The CHP and the Iyi Party are trying to find a way to make not a broad but a limited cooperation and are seeking to find a proper and well-designed method to provide it.

The agenda of this meeting, of course, was the upcoming local elections and the possible advantages and limitations of forming an alliance. As reflected in the press, the parties are negotiating on several scenarios in order to form an alliance in 9 provinces. In other words, the CHP and the Iyi Party this time are trying to find a way to make not a broad but a limited cooperation and are seeking to find a proper and well-designed method to provide it.

Nonetheless, the picture is not yet clear even though the sides are asserting the opposite. For instance, Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Mersin, and Adana, are expected to be an issue of negotiation between the two parties. However, previous election results reflect the fact that these parties fail to win the elections by forming an alliance, even if ceteris paribus. Additionally, surveys conducted to see possible outcomes of the alliance prove the probability its limited success.

Under current conditions, the CHP forming an alliance with HDP in Istanbul and Iyi Party in Ankara seems to be more reasonable. However, when taking into consideration previous election results, even this will not bring about the intended outcome.

Of course, both the CHP and Iyi Party are aware of this fact as they conduct surveys and prepare simulations. Due to this reason, the CHP has been trying to broaden the boundaries of a possible alliance by involving the HDP. Kilicdaroglu had a meeting with a former HDP MP, Ahmet Turk, last week solely for this purpose. The Iyi Party on the other hand, has announced that they will not accept any scenarios that suggest bringing the Iyi Party and HDP together. This means that the CHP will have to make a choice between these two parties by calculating the gains and losses of the two options.

Under current conditions, forming an alliance with the HDP in Istanbul and with the Iyi Party in Ankara seems to be more reasonable. However, when taking into consideration previous election results, even this will not bring about the intended outcome. More, it is not an easy job to find candidates running for election under any possible alliance. For instance, Mansur Yavas, one of the possible joint candidates for Ankara, underlined that he would not run under a party and demanded a broad consensus on his name. Finding a proper way and good candidates for alliances is a complex issue.

The lack of trust between the CHP and the Iyi Party might be the biggest deficiency for a possible alliance.

Last but not least, the lack of trust between the CHP and the Iyi Party might be the biggest deficiency for a possible alliance. The sharp break of the Nation Alliance after the June 24 elections caused mutual accusations and severe criticisms between the two parties. None of the parties took the responsibility of the failure of alliance and blamed each other instead. Since only 5 months has passed since this process, both parties will primarily have to pay attention to building trust between themselves.

Hazal Duran
Hazal Duran conducted her B.A in the fields of Turkish Language and Literature and International Relations at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology in 2012. She completed her M.A in Modern Turkish Studies at Istanbul Sehir University. While continuing her doctoral studies at Bilkent University, she is currently serving as a Researcher at the SETA Ankara Directorate of Political Studies.