Former Şişli Mayor Sarıgül eyes 20 CHP lawmakers to form group in...

Former Şişli Mayor Sarıgül eyes 20 CHP lawmakers to form group in Turkish Parliament

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The former mayor of Istanbul’s Şişli district is planning to transfer 20 lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) as he plans to establish a new political party, reports said Monday.

Mustafa Sarıgül, who is currently leading the Movement for Change in Turkey (TDH), has been holding talks with some CHP lawmakers to join his party, and some of them have accepted the offer, a report by Türkiye daily said.

The lawmakers are reportedly waiting for Sarıgül to announce the name of his party to announce their resignation from the CHP.

The TDH held its first meeting in the capital Ankara on Nov. 17, in which they discussed the party program, principles and the road map that they will follow.

On Nov. 26, Sarıgül’s movement held another meeting in southeastern Kahramanmaraş province.

The former mayor is allegedly trying to persuade 20 lawmakers from the CHP to join his party so he can form a group in the Turkish Parliament. He has reportedly been focusing on politicians that he previously worked with with in the party.

While the CHP administration has not released a statement about Sarıgül’s initiative, they have reportedly told lawmakers to “stay away” from Sarıgül.

Sarıgül is expected to announce his party in December. The name of his party is expected to be the Turkey Transformation Party (TDP).

Formerly a member of CHP, Sarıgül resigned twice from the party, with the latest resignation taking place in January 2019.

In the latest local elections, Sarıgül complained that the party had still not decided on a candidate for the Şişli district with only two months left for the local elections in March, adding that he would decide on a future road map with the people.

“I am offended by the administration of the CHP. I am reacting to their indecision, nontransparency and disloyalty,” Sarıgül said in the letter, adding that he was announcing his resignation with “regret.”

Sarıgül added that despite his resignation, he would run for the Şişli district in the upcoming elections.

Sarıgül was the mayor of Şişli, one of Istanbul's commercial centers, between 1999 and 2014. In 2004, he resigned from the party after a dispute with former CHP leader and Antalya deputy Deniz Baykal and continued his political career as an independent until he joined the Democratic Left Party (DSP) in 2008. The rivalry with Baykal flared up again when Sarıgül was nominated as CHP's Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality candidate for the local elections at the time.

In 2005, when the rivalry between Baykal and Sarıgül was at its peak, a supporter of Baykal for Istanbul's Bakırköy provincial mayor, Ateş Ünal Erzen, was attacked and beaten by Sarıgül at a CHP conference. Erzen said after the attack that politics required common sense and responsibility and he thought Sarıgül was mentally distressed.

A similar incident involving the recruitment of CHP lawmakers to form a parliamentary group happened when the Good Party (IP) convinced 15 CHP lawmakers to transfer to the party ahead of the June 24 General Elections last year.

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