Ahead of election campaigns to be started for 2023 elections, Ankara’s political lobbies argue if the opposition block will prioritize the nomination of a presidential candidate in their next meeting or set the poverty as their baseline for their strategy.
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu protested rising food prices in front of state-owned Meat and Milk Institution headquarters which was locked ahead of his visit.
Meanwhile the political lobies argue that in the next meeting of the six opposition parties that formed an alliance against ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) People Alliance, will focus on finding a presidential candidate against current President Tayyip Erdoğan.
CHP leader’s agenda is poverty
Kılıçdaroğlu on April 8 visited the Meat and Milk Institution to protest the rising basic food prices. He was not admitted to enter the premises as the building was locked ahead of his arrival. He previously visited Turkey’s Statistical Institute (TÜİK) and Ministry of National Education and the rejection of his application request made headlines.
Talking in front of the building to journalists he stated that the prices are far above the average purchasing power of the middle classes and that creates “developmental problems in children due to malnutrition.”
“It is almost not possible to get minced meat with minimum wage. Which family can buy milk for their child with these prices,” he said arguing that the AKP government should allocate the subsidies given to the construction industry to the fight against poverty and hunger.
According to TUİK data, food and non-alcoholic beverages were the item most affected by inflation last year. Meat prices have increased by 76 percent in the last year.
Alliance to discuss presidential candidate
Is presidential candidate on the agenda?
While the six opposition parties, which came together under the Nation Alliance, are preparing for their next meeting, there is talk in the backstage of Ankara that the opposition may bring the presidential candidate to their agenda. The alliance will meet at the leaders’ level on April 24 and a new meeting at the level of Vice Presidents has not been held yet.
According to the news of Selda Güneysu from Cumhuriyet newspaper, the fact that the opposition bloc has not yet determined a candidate has started to increase the criticism towards the alliance and “the process regarding the presidential candidate should be accelerated.”
The opposition alliance already under a pressure of the recent amendment of the election law which disables election alliances for small parties. Arguing that the law was designed to “weaken the opposition,” alliance members discussed that they “must strengthen their hand against all kinds of moves by the government. Now the presidential candidate should be announced to the public, that person should be on the field against Erdoğan and should tell the public about the future projects,” Güneysu reported.
Opposition parties were criticized for not only for not determining the presidential candidate yet, but also for not announcing a common program regarding the economic and the political situation in Turkey.
Minister of Agriculture: We started selling meat at discount
After Kılıçdaroğlu’s announcement that he will go to the Meat and Milk Institution on April 7, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Vahit Kirişçi said that there is no problem such as poverty in Turkey in a TV program where he was a guest on state-run TRT Haber.
“Food is not a political issue,” said Kirişçi. said.
The Minister of Agriculture announced that during Ramadan, discounted meat will be sold in 18 stores of the Meat and Milk Institution and 150 of the Agricultural Credit Markets.
“With the instructions of our President, our meat sales have started, 15-20 percent below the market averages, so that our citizens can eat cheap meat during the month of Ramadan,” he said.
At the same time, AK Party Ağrı Provincial Youth Branch President Halil İbrahim Selçuk shared the extravagant dinner images on social media, which stirred controversy. Selçuk deleted the image from his social media account after the criticism.