Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the opposition, is the main competitor of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the 2023 presidential election. Photo/Reuters
ISTANBUL – For more than a decade, Kemal Kilicdaroglu has built his political career as an opposition leader. He positions himself as the main rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
With a refined character and experience with the bureaucracy, as well as the economy, Kilicdaroglu showed himself to be Erdogan’s anti-thesis. He is also trying to strengthen his image as a leader who brings change and an alternative to Turkey which was hit by an economic crisis and a deadly earthquake in February.
Kilicdaroglu is running for president from the six-party opposition alliance known as the Table of Six. He promised Türkiye a return to parliamentary democracy and an end to the presidential system that Erdogan introduced.
“Kilicdaroglu’s victory will be a victory for democracy in Turkey,” said Murat Emir, a member of parliament for the People’s Republican Party (CHP). “The authoritarian regime will lose and the forces in democracy will win thereby creating hope in all countries,” he said, reported by Al Jazeera.
Here are 7 facts about Kilicdaroglu.
1. From Accountant to Politician
Born in Tunceli Province, eastern Turkey, Kilicdaroglu started his career as a government accountant. He worked for 20 years
heads the Turkish social insurance institute. He abandoned his civil career in 1999 and joined the Sol Democratic Party (Democratic Left) under Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.
In 1999, he switched to the CHP and entered parliament three years later as deputy for Istanbul. He built a reputation as a fighter against corruption. Despite his failed bid for mayor of Istanbul in 2009, Kilicdaroglu won support to lead his party after top officials were caught up in a sex scandal.