Ödül Celep

Işık Üniversitesi

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  • The unexpected switch of the CHP’s leadership from Deniz Baykal to Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu led to a series of debates about the party’s political future and its new place in the party system of Turkey. Most of the debates have focused on what exactly changed and what remained the same as a result of this switch. Kılıçdaroğlu’s speeches revealed signs for new directions in CHP’s discourse indeed, as they included novel issues such as intra-party democracy and empowering the party’s women and youth branches. The purpose of this policy brief is to propose ideas to the CHP as a socialdemocratic party, so it can be a serious political alternative to the conservative AK Party. The CHP’s major target should be democratization to be achieved at two different levels: (a) institutional and (b) ideological. Institutional democratization requires establishing intra-party democracy, decentralization of power, as well as bringing ideological heterogeneity and political debates back to the party. Ideological democratization is about bringing ‘the left’ back to Turkish politics by embracing a progressive and social democratic discourse. This entails moving leftwards, a de-emphasis of nationalism and the adoption of a more egalitarian, less elitist, more libertarian, and more multiculturalist world vision.