Turkey's New Opposition Leader: Deciphering Kemal Kilicdaroglu
In the run-up to parliamentary elections, the ruling AK party is leagues ahead of the opposition CHP with over 46 percent of the popular vote. The same polls suggest that the CHP is stuck at the 26 percent, only slightly above the 21 percent it took in the 2007 elections. The question, therefore, is not whether the CHP’s Kemal Kilicdaroglu can defeat Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — he cannot. It is whether he can be effective as the leader of the main opposition. He is neither charismatic nor worldly. But he has two sure vote-getters: an unassailable reputation for probity and the common touch. Be they Alevis, Armenians, or Kurds, one senses that deep inside Kilicdaroglu feels empathy for fellow “others.” There is more to Kemal Kilicdaroglu than meets the eye.