Turkey's opposition chief refuses to congratulate 'dictator' Erdogan

Turkey's opposition chief refuses to congratulate 'dictator' Erdogan
Turkey's opposition party have not taken kindly to their election loss, slamming Erdogan as a dictator.
2 min read
27 June, 2018
Ince polled a respectable 30.6% but failed to force a second round [Getty]
Turkey's main opposition party refused on Tuesday to congratulate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his decisive election victory, with the leader describing the strongman as a "dictator" running a one-man regime.

The secular Kemalist party, Republican People's Party (CHP) chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu had selected Muharrem Ince as their candidate to challenge Erdogan in the elections.

Ince polled a respectable 30.6 percent but failed to force a second round.

"You cannot congratulate someone who ties the executive, judicial and legislative organs to themselves. You cannot congratulate someone who defends a one-man regime. What are you congratulating?" Kilicdaroglu told reporters.

"If the person says they will run with a one-man regime to the end, why should I congratulate a dictator?" 

Ince, however, said on Monday that he accepted the results and would call Erdogan to congratulate him.

Kilicdaroglu has been facing mounting suggestions that he should resign and let the more charismatic Ince lead the opposition party, which he has dismissed.

Instead, he insisted the "loser" of the elections was the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as votes fell, neglecting to comment on the CHP's vote fall too.

Kilicdaroglu criticised the "pressure, bribery and threats" during the election campaign, while acknowledging there was no fraud in the vote itself.

The CHP chief said the "fight was not fought under equal conditions".

But in a comment regarded as ungracious by some on social media, Kilicdaroglu said Ince's vote was "below expectations".

Ince tweeted later on Tuesday that he would visit all 81 provinces of Turkey to "meet, embrace and thank" everyone, "starting with those provinces I was not able to visit before the elections".

Ince's popularity comes as he mirrors Erdogan's hard stance with the West, a break from the typical CHP rhetoric.

He has also made major inroads by refusing CHP banners to be raised in his rallies, only the Turkish flag, while attacking Erdogan's "divisive rhetoric" and reaching out to the Kurdish population.