The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
KILIÇDAROĞLU REINFORCES LEADERSHIP OF TURKEY'S MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) strengthened his control Saturday after his list of handpicked candidates replaced more than half of one of the party's main executive bodies during Saturday's extraordinary convention.
The 80-person Party Assembly, one of the main executive bodies of the party, was elected the way Kılıçdaroğlu was insisting on for past few weeks—despite criticism from his predecessor, Deniz Baykal. Sixty-eight members of the assembly were nominated by Kılıçdaroğlu directly while the other 12 seats for the science and culture platform were selected out of 18 names suggested by Kılıçdaroğlu.
"For the time being, we can say that he strengthened his leadership in the party. All his powerful rivals will have to wait for the upcoming general election results," Utku Çakırözer, Ankara representative of daily Cumhuriyet told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Saturday.
Kılıçdaroğlu used the extraordinary convention to address the party's supporters, both in the conference hall and across the nation, Çakırözer said.
"His priority was not only the thousands within the hall but the millions listening to him from their homes," Çakırözer said. "His speech was more than a political party congress statement; it was an election manifesto."
Although 33 members of the previous assembly kept their positions, Kılıçdaroğlu introduced 47 new names to the assembly, changing 55 percent of the body. The new assembly consists of at least 15 female members, a number that could increase with the election of more female candidates from the science and culture platform committee.
Faruk Loğoğlu, former undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry and ambassador to Washington D.C., and Osman Korutürk, former ambassador to Paris, were among new names introduced to the assembly; they are likely to shape the party's foreign policy understanding. Hüseyin Pazarcı, another retired ambassador and an expert on international law, will join Loğoğlu and Korutürk.
As the former head of the Social Security Institution (SGK), Kılıçdaroğlu gave one of the assembly seats to Ali Tezel, a well-known expert on social security issues. Bülent Kuşoğlu, Kılıçdaroğlu's deputy at the SKG, will also occupy a seat in the assembly. In his earlier days in politics, Kuşoğlu also served as a senior official for center-right political parties.
As expected, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, former president of the Diyarbakır Bar, also made it onto Kılıçdaroğlu's list. Tanrıkulu is known for his moderate views about how to solve the Kurdish issue, one of the country's most important problems. Similarly, Mesut Değer, a former deputy of Kurdish descent, is also on the list.
Former mufti İhsan Özkeş, who served on the previous assembly, maintained his position, while Muhammed Çakmak, a sociologist who focuses on religion, also got a seat.
Constitutional law professor Bertil Emrah Öder, the daughter of daily Cumhuriyet columnist Hikmet Çetinkaya, was also added to the list. Enver Ayseven and Veli Özdemir, owner of the Ankara-based Anka news agency, are two journalists in the new assembly.
Binnaz Toprak, an academic and a columnist for daily Radikal, is also on the list. Toprak is known for her academic studies on "neighborhood pressure," a concept often associated with the ruling Justice and Development Party's pro-headscarf policies.
Sencer Ayata, a professor of sociology at Middle East Technical University, and Aykan Erdemir, deputy dean of the Graduate School of Social Sciences, are also on the list. These three names are likely to shape the party's social program and policies to address difficult problems such as the headscarf and Kurdish issues.
Some prominent names among the female members are Aylin Nazlı Aka, a businesswoman; Gülseren Onanç, a member of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey; Zuhal Samlı, head of the Turkish Women Association; Perihan Sarı, deputy general-secretary of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions; and Doğa Çiğdemoğlu, an expert on terrorism.
Kılıçdaroğlu also spared some seats for Baykal and Önder Sav, the party's former leader and secretary-general, respectively. Gülsün Bilgehan, grand-daugther of the country's second president İsmet İnönü; Gökhan Günaydın; Atila Sav; and Rıza Yalçınkaya are known for their close links to Sav, while Atila Emek, Osman Kaptan, Bihlun Tamaylıgil, Mehmet Ali Susam and Ali İhsan Köktürk are close to Baykal.
One of the names Kılıçdaroğlu did not include in the new assembly was Önder Sav. Speaking to reporters Saturday, Sav said he was not resentful, emphasizing that the party's success was the most important thing.
"The success of the individual is temporary," Sav said. "What is permanent is the CHP."