Turkish Opposition Parties Raise OIC ex-Head's Bid for PresidencyWorld | June 17, 2014, Tuesday // 17:24| views
Former OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Photo by British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Turkey's major opposition parties have nominated a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections by choosing the former chief of an Islamic body.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of left-leaning Republican People's Party (CHP), said that former Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who will be pitted against the ruling party at the presidential vote, is a name to "be accepted by everybody and who will set a model for everybody with his reputation, honesty, knowledge and experience," Hurriyet Daily News reports.
In a joint statement with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chief Devlet Bahceli, he said the move by the two parties, called by them "The Grand Conciliation", aimed at favoring peace and serenity.
Though the two parties, the rather socialist CHP and nationalist MHP, are known for their secular stance, it is considered that their decision to jointly back Ihsanoglu is aimed at draining support from the conservative electorate of the moderate Islamist Party of Justice and Development (AKP), which overwhelmingly won the local elections on March 30 and which has been in power for nearly twelve years.
Experts suggest that the CHP, party of the Turkish Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is trying to meet new realities of Islamic revival started by the AKP.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has headed the OIC between 2005 and end-January 2014.
It has not yet been announced who the AKP's presidential candidate will be. Many are waiting for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to announced his bid, but reports suggest current President Abdullah Gul, an ally to Erdogan, has not fully abandoned his ambitions for another term in office.
The AKP is determined to reveal its candidate by the end of June.
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