After a very turbulent few weeks, the six opposition parties that formed an alliance against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the upcoming elections started the second round of talks hosted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on October 2. Before the meeting, all the parties in the “Table of Six” alliance posted the same video with the hashtag “We Will Win” on their social media accounts.
In the statement made after the meeting, as expected, there was no candidate name. However, they said that they started to look for an answer to the question that comes after a claim to win the election: How? Whether you call this search building a “road map” or “coalition protocol”, their answer to the question “how will you win” was to establish a “Joint Working Group”.
They announced that they will work on the following nine topics:
• Law, justice and judiciary,
• Public administration,
• Transparency, auditing and anti-corruption,
• Economy, finance and employment,
• Sectoral and regional issues,
• Science and technology,
• Education and training,
• Social policies,
• Foreign policy, security, and defense.
It can be said that the six parties made a concrete start for the second round of meetings, following their first proposals such as the “Strengthened Parliamentary System”, which has a weak response to the tangible problems of the country and the people. Thus, it seems that they aimed to build a program that will bind the candidate that will compete against President Tayyip Erdoğan.
“We Will Win” program for the prospective candidate
The October 2 meeting can also be seen as an attempt by the “Table of Six” leaders to defuse the messy and skimpy image of recent weeks, with the “We Will Win” reaffirmation, to calm the tensions, to tidy up the situation.
The leaders seem to agree on at least one key point: Despite all the pressing “where is the candidate?” questions of the media, they all say “the program first”.
Here, DEVA leader Ali Babacan’s approach to calm the cliques within İYİ Party and CHP, who were pressing on their own candidate preference, seems to have been accepted. Responding to the fight between the İYİ Party circles who have been insisting on Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş and CHP circles who have been fighting for Kılıçdaroğlu’s candidacy, Babacan said “Let’s make sure about our moves after the election in an event that we win the election”.
This is important because whether the candidate is Kılıçdaroğlu, Yavaş, Ekrem İmamoğlu or anyone else, the candidate will be deemed to have accepted this program and its bindingness. This is a kind of response to the “We don’t want a new Erdoğan, a new one-man” criticism. It also means a word to current and prospective candidates: “If you want our support, do not play selfishly”.
Checks and Balances of the Table of Six
Changing the constitution which grants sweeping power to the elected president is not going to happen swiftly after the 2023 elections and the new president will serve with these authorities that lead Erdoğan to be criticized as being a “one-man”.
If the Table of Six actually manages to win the election as they claimed in their video “We will win”, their October 2 meeting would be remembered as a date that sets the checks and balances mechanism which has been greatly weakened by the Presidential Governmental System. It is a positive goal if they can achieve it.
There is another dimension to the matter.
The Joint Working Group will set up nine commissions under nine main objectives. This means a large number of sub-commissions under the main targets. In other words, this means that if they succeed in taking power from Erdogan, the future cadres of the future coalition will also start to be built.
In addition, the fact that this Working Group consists of nine main commissions means that at least nine officials from each party meet regularly. Maybe in this way, some who want to stand out at Six Table parties will stop fighting with each other on social media and say whatever they want to each other’s faces.