Baykal and Sav have requested an extraordinary party congress to either vote in a new leader, or at least a new Party Council (PM). They have also made statements to the press harshly critical of Kılıçdaroğlu and his liberal new policies. The party's Central Executive Board (MYK) met on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Kılıçdaroğlu, at a time when Sav and Baykal were struggling to collect 651 signatures from party delegates, the number needed to call an extraordinary convention. The MYK also reportedly took up the issue of the situation of two CHP deputies – Mustafa Balbay and Mehmet Haberal – who might not be allowed to serve in Parliament as they are both suspects in the investigation into Ergenekon, a gang charged with plotting to overthrow the government.
In related developments the CHP İstanbul Provincial Administration released a statement backing Kılıçdaroğlu. The İstanbul branch said, “We no longer want to be a party of congresses.”
The main target of the anti-Kılıçdaroğlu opposition has not been Kılıçdaroğlu himself so much as Gürsel Tekin, a deputy chairman of the party widely regarded as Kılıçdaroğlu's right-hand man. Both Sav and Baykal have clearly stated that they want Tekin to go. Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said in the face of mounting calls for Tekin to be removed from his post: “I have patiently listened to all the statements made so far. There are friends of ours who define themselves as the opposition, but if these statements and accusations continue, what needs to be done will be done,” he said, threatening Sav and Baykal with disciplinary action.
The inner party opposition has also been working. Reportedly, pro-Baykal CHP members Yılmaz Ateş, Tacidar Seyhan, Mahmut Yıldız and Zekeriya Akıncı, all former deputies, met with Baykal in on Tuesday and Wednesday in the parliament building to talk about the course of action they plan to take. According to party bylaws, the opposition has 15 days to collect 651 signatures from the day the first officially notarized signature is given. The opposition now has until July 7 to find 651 party delegates to support them. However, the party bylaws also allow Kılıçdaroğlu not to call for an extraordinary convention. If this is the case, the opposition will have to find 254 extra signatures to force the party to a congress without electing a new leader.
CHP dissenters' persona-non-grata Tekin also spoke to the press on Thursday, shortly after receiving his paperwork enabling him to start parliamentary service. In response to a question from a press member regarding CHP Tunceli deputy Kamer Genç's suggestion that “Baykal should be forced to retire,” another reference to referring the former chairman to the party's disciplinary board, Tekin said: “Turkey has important issues to deal with. Both the country and the CHP are busy with these. We respect the party's delegates. If our friends indeed want to convene a congress, we will certainly consider it, but for now, there is no congress on our agenda.” On the disciplinary council suggestion, he said: “Democracy is about discipline. Certainly, discipline will prevail in political parties.”
CHP Secretary-General Bihlun Tamaylıgil on Thursday also made a statement about the situation of Balbay and Haberal. Tamaylıgil said: “The Supreme Election Council [YSK] approved their nomination saying there was no obstacle to their election. They were voted in by the nation's votes. Now it is time for them to be sworn in as parliamentary deputies. How can a court say they can't do that?”
Two different courts are currently reviewing whether the two men should be released. The prosecution has spoken against their release.
Also on Thursday, a group from the CHP's Ankara provincial branch held a small demonstration in front of CHP headquarters in the capital. The group chanted slogans including one that said “Baykal, hands off the CHP.” The group called on Baykal to resign.
Hurşit Güneş, a CHP deputy chairman, made a statement for the group. “We have set on this path as a new party. We have set the right course for the CHP, the party of Atatürk, so that Turkey can advance.” He said the CHP was determined to continue on its current course. “We are not in a position to compromise. Turkey has important issues, and our people have important problems. The answer to these is the CHP and social democracy.”
CHP Ankara branch head Tarık Şengül said no other leader had come as close to narrowing the gap between the people and the party as Kılıçdaroğlu has. “We saw this in election rallies. Everyone showed a great attention, a kind we have never seen before, to the CHP. The vote we received is only a start for us.” He said the CHP had no time to waste on infighting.