Opposition presidential candidate urges calm before key polls

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the joint presidential candidate of the oppositional Nation Alliance, has urged calm with only a few days left to one of Türkiye's most critical elections and criticized the government for not taking security measures to prevent the incident that took place in Erzurum over the weekend.

"I call on my people: Please, please stay calm. We are going to the elections and not to war," Kılıçdaroğlu said in a televised interview late on May 8.

He referred to an attack by a group of ultra-nationalists against Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu during a rally in the eastern town of Erzurum that injured around 10 people. Fifteen assailants who threw stones at the crowd were released after a brief detention.

The real guilt belongs not to these youngsters but those who have provoked them, Kılıçdaroğlu said, "I am more concerned with the provocateurs than these assailants. Why was the governor so ineffective? Who ordered the police not to stop the incident?"

Despite these sorts of interventions, Kılıçdaroğlu said he was happy of the dynamism and energy of the electors who attend the opposition's rallies in big numbers. "The [presidential] race will end in the first round. The people want democracy, they want the economy to recover. They want hope," he suggested.

On the government's criticisms about alleged negotiations with the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated that no promises have been given to any political party outside the six-party Nation Alliance.

"We, as the alliance, have introduced our common policies and views in our documents. There is a futile discussion over who is part of the alliance and not. Our position is clear as is the other alliance that includes the HDP," he said.


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