Turkey has been talking about a woman a lot lately. CHP’s new Istanbul Provincial Chair, Canan Kaftancıoğlu.
As soon as she was elected, the tweets she has written had been top story for pro AKP media. Some were photoshopped or not real, some were real but a bit against CHP’s traditional line.
She faced reactions from both pro AKP circles and nationalist circles of CHP alike. The old guard of CHP has not been happy with her. Her pro HDP stance appeared to be one of the problems for traditional CHP base and her tweet emphasizing the “Armenian genocide” was problematic for most.
President Erdoğan also pointed a finger at Kaftancıoğlu. In one of his recent rallies he showed one of Kaftancıoğlu’s tweets, where she mentions that her husband ate pork. As you can guess Erdoğan presented this tweet with derogatory terms.
17th of January was the big day for Kaftancıoğlu and CHP. She officially received her title.
CHP’s new Istanbul Chair came into the hall where she was going to make the declaration with “shoulder to shoulder against fascism” chants. Slogans were reminding of 60s and 70s; when Turkish society was deeply divided just like the rest of the world was divided during the cold war; left on one side, right on the other.
Kaftancıoğlu emphasized the “Kuvayı Milliye (Turkish Revolutionaries)” spirit, she said “this party was not established in some hotel lobbies but in the war arenas”. This probably was a subtle reference to what she formerly tweeted. ın 2012 she tweeted “I refuse to say we are the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal, but we are his comrades”.
Kaftancıoğlu said she is just sorry for one tweet. The tweet consists of a photograph, in which there is a curse for Erdoğan’s mother on a wall. She said she was behind whatever she has written before with the exception of this tweet. She would have no intention of cursing any mother.
Kaftancıoğlu also talked about “the tweet” Erdoğan mentioned. She claimed it was not her husband but a friend who ate the pork.
Kaftancıoğlu as a leftist feminist woman seems to have support of the young and also the women. But there is a suspicion towards her among the traditional base and probably a lot of anger from the conservatives.
As 2019 draws near, things are getting harder for CHP. According to the latest polls, on the one hand moving away from the traditional patriotic discourse causes CHP to lose votes to İYİ Party. On the other hand CHP feels the need to get some of the Kurdish and minority votes AKP has been losing, thus using more of a lefty and center-liberal discourse. CHP tries to hang right in between in order not to lose any side and even gather all sides under its roof. However sometimes being in such a limbo is a great gamble, which might lead to losing all.