Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul Provincial Chairman Berhan Şimşek resigned from his position on Saturday, saying he plans to run as a CHP candidate in the next parliamentary elections. Şimşek took over the post of his party’s İstanbul provincial branch from Gürsel Tekin, who is currently responsible for party organization, in June. He said CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu asked him to remain in place until June but that he declined to do so.
“The party’s provincial chairmen used to resign from their positions only some time before the elections to be nominated as candidates for deputy. And the party’s provincial branches were left without a head. I suggested that provincial chairmen resign from their positions five or six months before the elections if they want to run in the elections. I brought up the suggestion months ago. And my suggestion was welcomed in the party,” Şimşek noted.
Şimşek also said his resignation is not linked to an intra-party rift.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who spoke about Şimşek’s resignation during a visit to Hatay, said his party was expecting the resignation. “We are a family. Şimşek called me the other day, and we talked. He said he would hold a press conference and announce his resignation. I wished him good luck and success. We will proceed on our path,” he noted.
The CHP leader also said the CHP would convene on Monday to discuss who would be appointed in lieu of Şimşek. Nebil İlseven, former CEO of Doğan Holding, is expected to replace Şimşek.
However, there are rumors that Şimşek was forced to resign as part of a plan by Kılıçdaroğlu to reorganize the entire party. The CHP leader now plans to appoint his “own men” to the party’s provincial branches after he did the same for the party administration in December. Tekin, who is also Kılıçdaroğlu’s right-hand man, reportedly asked Şimşek to resign by Jan. 10, and Şimşek complied.
There is also growing pressure on the chairmen of other provincial branches of the CHP to resign, according to rumors. Ankara Provincial Chairman Ali Yıldız reportedly refused to resign and defied the Kılıçdaroğlu administration to remove him from office. İzmir Provincial Chairman Rifat Nalbantoğlu, on the other hand, is expected to submit his resignation in the coming days. The chairmen of provincial branches in Bursa, Edirne, Antalya, Trabzon, Elazığ, Muş, Bingöl, Şanlıurfa, Kayseri, Niğde, Malatya and Manisa are also expected to resign soon as part of Kılıçdaroğlu’s plans to reorganize the CHP.
The chairmen who refuse to resign, however, will be removed from office by Tekin on orders of the CHP leader.