Republican People's Party

The Republican People's Party (Turkish: Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi pronounced [dʒumhuːɾiˈjet haɫk 'paɾtisi] (About this soundlisten), abbreviated CHP [dʒehepe]) is the oldest political party in Turkey[11], founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president and founder of Modern Turkey. The CHP describes itself as "a modern social democratic party, which is faithful to the founding principles and values of the Republic of Turkey".[12][13] The party is cited as “the founding party of modern Turkey".[14] Its logo consists of the Six Arrows, which represent the foundational principles of Kemalism: republicanism, nationalism, statism, populism, laicism, and reformism. It is currently the main opposition in the Grand National Assembly against the ruling conservative AKP, with 136 MPs. Its leader is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Republican People's Party
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi
LeaderKemal Kılıçdaroğlu
Secretary-GeneralSelin Sayek Böke
SpokespersonFaik Öztrak
FounderMustafa Kemal Atatürk
  • 7 September 1919 (1919-09-07)
    (as a resistance organisation)
  • 9 September 1923 (1923-09-09)
    (as a political party)
  • 9 September 1992 (1992-09-09)
Preceded byCommittee of Union and Progress[1][2][3]
Association for the Defence of the Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia
HeadquartersAnadolu Bulvarı No: 12,
Çankaya, Ankara
Student wingHalk-Lis'
Youth wingCHP Youth
Women's wingCHP Kadın Kolları
NGOAtatürkist Thought Association (unofficial)
SODEV (unofficial)
Membership (2021)Increase 1,257,110[4]
IdeologySocial democracy[5]
Political positionCentre-left[9]
National affiliationNation Alliance
European affiliationParty of European Socialists (associate)
International affiliationProgressive Alliance[10]
Socialist International
Colours  Red
SloganPeople First, Unity First, Turkey First! (Önce insan, önce birlik, önce Türkiye!)
Grand National Assembly
135 / 600
Metropolitan municipalities
11 / 30
District municipalities
241 / 1,351
Provincial councilors
184 / 1,251
Municipal Assemblies
4,613 / 20,498
Election symbol
The Six Arrows
Party flag
Flag of the Republican People's Party
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The political party was established during the Sivas Congress in 1919 as a union of resistance groups and remnants of the Committee of Union and Progress against the Greek invasion of Anatolia, known as the Association for the Defence of Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia. The union represented Turkish people as a unified front during the Turkish War of Independence (1919–1923), led by Mustafa Kemal. On 9 September 1923, the "People's Party” declared itself to be a political organisation and on 29 October 1923, announced the establishment of the Turkish Republic, with Mustafa Kemal as its first president. On 10 November 1924, the People's Party renamed itself the "Republican People's Party" (CHP) as Turkey moved into its one-party period. During the one-party period, the CHP was the apparatus of implementing far reaching Kemalist style reforms in the country. After World War II, Atatürk's successor, İsmet İnönü, called for democratic elections to Turkish society and the CHP lost the 1950 election, ending the one-party period.

During the 1960s, social-democracy became a core part of the party's ideology through its "Left of Center" slogan. The CHP, along with all other political parties of the time, was suspended for a brief period by the military junta of 1980. An inheritor party which still participates in Turkish democratic life as a separate party was established in 1984 by the name of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), created by the CHP's former leader, Bülent Ecevit. The CHP was re-established with its original name on 9 September 1992, with the participation of a majority of its members from the pre-1980 period.

It is a founding party[15] of the Nation Alliance, an alliance consisting of opposition parties İYİ, Saadet, and Democrat Parties against the ruling AKP and their People’s Alliance.[16] In addition, CHP is an associate member of the Party of European Socialists (PES), a member of the Socialist International[17] and the Progressive Alliance. Many politicians of CHP have declared their support for LGBT rights and the feminist movement in Turkey. The party continues its Pro-European policies and commitment to NATO.

The party's base includes the middle and upper-middle classes such as white-collar workers, retired generals, government bureaucrats, academics, college students, left-leaning intellectuals, Alevis, and labour unions such as DİSK.[18] The party's strongholds are in the west of the Aegean Region (İzmir, Aydın, Muğla), the northwest of the Marmara Region (Turkish Thrace; Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ, Çanakkale), the east of the Black Sea Region (Ardahan and Artvin), and the Anatolian college town of Eskişehir.[19]


Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1923–1938)Edit

Members of the CHP in Düzce, 1930s

During the Turkish War of Independence, 1919–1923, the parliament in Ankara was composed of different types of deputies. To have harmony among his followers, Mustafa Kemal and his colleagues formed the Association for the Defence of National Rights of Anatolia and Rumelia (Anadolu ve Rumeli Müdâfaa-i Hukuk Cemiyeti). The opposition to Mustafa Kemal or to the commissars elected by the parliament united under the name of "second group for Defence of the Law", often shortened simply to "second group" (the followers of Mustafa Kemal were later called "first group"). Although the second group was always in the minority, it could create active opposition within the parliament. In January 1923, Mustafa Kemal announced that first group would be transformed into a party named Halk Fırkası (People's Party). In May 1923, the parliament called a bill for new elections, most probably because Mustafa Kemal and his colleagues wanted to guarantee the Treaty of Lausanne's approval by a more unanimous parliament. The People's Party was formally founded only after the 1923 elections. The 1923 elections were definitely the victory of the forthcoming party, because of its leader's reputation after the military victory of the War of Independence and the liquidation of the second group. Because of the unanimity of this second parliament, the republic was proclaimed, the Treaty of Lausanne was accepted and the Caliphate was abolished.[20]

Atatürk during the convention of the party on 9 May 1935

However, in 1924, after the short-period of one-party rule, many of Mustafa Kemal's ex-colleagues, for many reasons (their growing loss of power, their opposition to the short period of a one-party rule's revolutionary activities, etc.), including Rauf Orbay, Kâzım Karabekir, Ali Fuat Cebesoy and many others founded an opposition party called Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası (Progressive Republican Party). After the foundation of an opposition party, the People's Party changed its name to "Republican People's Party". The life of the Progressive Republican Party was short. In 1925, the Sheikh Said rebellion was sparked in the east of Turkey. The party faced allegations of involvement with rebellion and assassination attempts against Mustafa Kemal and was closed on 5 June by the government. As a consequence, Karabekir and many members of the party were court-martialled and imprisoned. Karabekir was released after being found innocent. From 1925 until 1946, Turkey was under one-party rule, with one interruption; Serbest Fırka (Liberal Party), which had been founded by Atatürk and was led by one of his closest friends, Ali Fethi Okyar. This party was closed down by its founders shortly after the İzmir meeting, which was a huge demonstration against the Republican People's Party. In the period of 1925–1930, the Republican People's Party introduced measures transforming Turkey into a modern state. In the period of 1930–1939, the party transformed itself and tried to broaden its ideology (for instance, the 'Six Arrows' were adopted in 1930).[21] In the parties third convention, it clarified their approach towards the religious minorities of the Christians and the Jews, accepting them as real Turks as long as they adhere to the national ideal and use the Turkish language.[22]

The day after Atatürk's death, his ally İsmet İnönü was elected the second president[23] and assumed leadership of the CHP. During the general nationwide congress of the CHP on 26 December 1938, İsmet İnönü was elected as "everlasting CHP leader".[24] The delegates awarded Atatürk the title "eternal chief", and awarded İnönü the title "national chief". The party was associated with anti-communism.[25][26][27]

İsmet İnönü (1938–1972)Edit

İsmet İnönü during a convention of the party in the late 1930s

Soon after being elected as president, İsmet İnönü adopted a policy of neutrality despite attempts by the Allies and Axis powers to bring Turkey into World War II.

Beginning of Turkey's multiparty periodEdit

A general election was held in Turkey on 21 July 1946 - the first multi-party elections in the country's history. The result was a victory for the Republican People's Party, which won 395 of the 465 seats, amid criticism that the election did not live up to democratic standards. However, four years later, Turkey's first free general election was held on 14 May 1950 and led to the CHP losing power to the Democrat Party (DP) led by Celal Bayar. İnönü presided over a peaceful transition of power, after which Bayar became the third President of Turkey while Adnan Menderes became Prime Minister. The 1950 elections marked the end of the CHP's last majority government. The party has not been able to regain a parliamentary majority in any subsequent election.[28]

During the 1940s, the CHP established Village Institutes, which were part of an enlightenment project developed in order to reduce the gap that existed between urban and rural areas. Various scientists, writers, teachers, and doctors graduated from Village Institutes; and supported Turkey's modernization efforts, before the program was ended by Adnan Menderes's DP government. UNICEF regards the Village Institutes project as exemplary and has placed its curriculum under protection.[29][30]

On 26 November 1951, during the ninth CHP Congress, the youth branch and the women's branch of the CHP were formed. On 22 June 1953, the establishment of trade unions and vocational chambers was proposed, and the right to strike for workers was added to the party program. On 2 May 1954, the CHP lost a second consecutive general election to the DP, gaining only 31 seats with 35.4% of the total vote. The DP captured 505 seats with 57.6% vote, due to the winner-take-all system in place. Following this defeat, the CHP began intensifying its opposition tactics and increased its share of the votes to 41%, gaining 178 seats, in the 27 October 1957 elections. The DP gained 424 seats with 47.9% vote amid growing concerns about the DP's authoritarian tendencies in government.

1960 CoupEdit

Following the military coup of 1960, a "National Unity Committee" was formed by higher-ranking soldiers led by Cemal Gürsel. The National Unity Committee abolished the Democratic Party and started trials to punish Democratic Party leaders for their alleged dictatorial regime. As a result, on 16 and 17 September 1961, ousted Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, Foreign Minister Fatin Rüştü Zorlu, and Finance Minister Hasan Polatkan were hanged in the İmralı island prison. President Celal Bayar was forgiven due to his old age, but sentenced to life imprisonment. CHP leader İsmet İnönü sent a letter to Gürsel raising concerns regarding the legal process, calling on the death sentences of the ousted government ministers to be commuted in order to calm social tensions following the coup. Nevertheless, right-wing parties have since continuously attacked the CHP for their perceived involvement of the party in the hanging of Adnan Menderes.[31]

In 1961, the Justice Party (AP) was established, claiming to be the successor to the Democratic Party. In the meantime, the National Unity Committee established an interim House of Representatives instead of the Grand National Assembly, in order to prepare a new constitution for Turkey. In the new constitution, the Constitutional Court was to be established, to prevent the government from violating the constitution. The 1961 constitution is widely accepted as to be the most liberal and democratic constitution in Turkish history. Also, the winner-take-all electoral system was immediately abolished, and a proportional representation system was introduced. The new constitution brought Turkey a bicameral parliament, composed of the Senate of the Republic as the upper chamber, and the National Assembly as the lower chamber. The National Unity Committee chairman General Cemal Gürsel was elected as the fourth president of Turkey.

The CHP emerged as the first party in the general election of 1961, gaining 173 seats with the 36.7% of the vote. The AP gained 158 seats with 34.8% of the vote. CHP leader İsmet İnönü formed a grand coalition with the Justice Party (AP) and became Prime Minister for a third and final time. This was the first coalition government in Turkey, lasting until 1962 when a split between the CHP and the AP on the issue of amnesty for former DP members resulted in the government's dissolution. İnönü formed a three-party coalition government with the New Turkey Party (YTP) and the Republican Villagers Nation Party (CKMP), though the loss of support for the two junior parties in the 1963 local elections resulted in the government being disbanded in 1963. İnönü was forced to form a fragile minority government supported by Independents, though the government was able to survive a vote of confidence due to outside support from the YTP. The government was overthrown in February 1965 after the opposition parties in parliament united to block the CHP's budget, causing İnönü to resign as Prime Minister. The 29th government of Turkey was formed by Independent MP Suat Hayri Ürgüplü, who had the support of the AP, YTP, CKMP and the Nation Party (MP). Ürgüplü's government presided over the 1965 general election, in which the AP won a parliamentary majority. Since 1965, party adopted new Left of Centre (Ortanın solu) programme switching to centre-left politics.[32]

İnönü remained as opposition leader and the leader of the CHP until 8 May 1972, losing a second general election in 1969 to the AP. He was succeeded as leader by Bülent Ecevit and died a year later in 1973. He is the most recent President of Turkey to have served as an active member of the CHP during his term.

Bülent Ecevit (1972–1980)Edit

In 1971, the army brought down the AP government of Süleyman Demirel. The secretary general of CHP Bülent Ecevit protested against military intervention and resigned from his post. He also criticized İnönü for not criticizing the intervention. By his quick and energetic reactions, he gained support from the intellectuals and in 1972, he succeeded İsmet İnönü as the leader of the party. Following some interim governments, CHP won 1973 elections with 33% of the vote and formed a coalition with the National Salvation Party (MSP) of Necmettin Erbakan. Bülent Ecevit began to take on a distinct left wing role in politics and, although remaining staunchly nationalist, tried to implement socialism into the ideology of CHP. The support of the party also increased after Turkish intervention in Cyprus following a coup which had been staged by the Cypriot National Guard led by Nikos Sampson.

However, the CHP and the MSP had very diverged ideologies, especially on secularism and in 1975 a new coalition government led by Süleyman Demirel was formed by four right wing parties called the First National Front Government. Nevertheless, the CHP was still the most popular party and won the 1977 elections with 41% of the vote, which is a record for the party. Although the CHP couldn't gain the majority of seats and from 1977 to 1979, the CHP was the main party of two brief coalition governments. But in 1980, the AP returned with Demirel. The political switching between the CHP and the AP came to an end when the military performed a coup and banned all political parties.[33]

Recovery (1980–1992)Edit

After the 1980 military coup, the name "Republican People's Party" and the abbreviation CHP were banned from use by the military regime. Until 1998, Turkey was ruled by the centre-right Motherland Party (ANAP) and the True Path Party (DYP), unofficial successors of the Democrat Party.

CHP followers also tried to establish parties. But they were not allowed to use the name CHP and were not allowed to elect the well known pre-1980 politicians to party posts. So they had to introduce new politicians.

The three parties of CHP followers were the Populist Party (Turkish: Halkçı Parti, HP) of Necdet Calp, the Social Democracy Party (Turkish: Sosyal Demokrasi Partisi, SODEP) of Erdal İnönü and the Democratic Left Party (Turkish: Demokratik Sol Parti, DSP) of Rahşan Ecevit. These names were chosen to remind people of the CHP. Necdet Calp was the late İsmet İnönü's secretary while he was prime minister. Erdal İnönü was İsmet İnönü's son and Rahşan Ecevit was Bülent Ecevit's wife.

The ban on pre-1980 politicians was lifted in 1987 and the ban on pre-1980 parties was lifted in 1992. Both of these normalization steps were largely due to Erdal İnönü's efforts. He also tried to unify the three parties; SODEP and HP merged in 1985 to form the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP), but DSP remained separate.[34]

Deniz Baykal (1992–2010)Edit

The CHP was re-established after the 1987 referendum and a legislation in 1993 which allowed the re-establishment of older parties. Its new leader became Deniz Baykal, who is acknowledged to have steered the party to the center in opposition to the other main Kemalist party, Ecevit's DSP.

In 1991, since Turkey's election system had two large election thresholds post-1980 (10% nationwide and 15% local thresholds) and since the centre-left was divided into two parties (SHP and DSP), social democrats and democratic left groups had little power in parliament. Between 1991 and 1995, Turkey was ruled by the coalition of centre-right DYP and center-left SHP (later, the SHP joined the CHP). The Islamists returned with a new party, the Welfare Party (Refah), while the nationalist MHP took advantage of the disillusionment felt by former supporters of the Refah Party and the constant bickering of ANAP and DYP.

In 1995, the Islamist Welfare Party (Refah) entered parliament, and the CHP's share of the vote dropped further to 10%. It now seemed as if the CHP had been replaced as the main left-wing party. But the Welfare Party was banned in 1998, and during the 1990s the Democratic Left Party led by former CHP leader Bülent Ecevit gained popular support. In 1998, after the resignation of the Refah-DYP coalition following the 28 February "post-modern coup", ANAP formed a coalition government with the DSP and the small centre-right party Democratic Turkey Party (DTP), along with the support of CHP. However, due to big scandals, corruption and some illegal actions of this coalition, the CHP withdrew its support from the coalition and helped bring down the government with a "no confidence" vote. Just before the elections of 1999, the DSP formed an interim minority government with the support of the DYP and ANAP. Notably, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was captured in Kenya during this Ecevit period. Therefore, in the elections of 1999, the CHP failed to pass the 10% threshold (8.7% vote), winning no seats in parliament. Baykal resigned in 1999 and Altan Öymen became the new leader. But one year later, Baykal became the leader of the party again.

About a month after the 1999 general election, a coalition government between the DSP, MHP and ANAP was formed under the leadership of the DSP. Which passed much needed economic reform following the 2001 currency crisis. Because the DSP opposed the US invasion of Iraq, a campaign to divide the DSP and force a change of government in Turkey was started. When its coalition partner MHP called for early elections in the summer of 2002, it faced the electorate before the results of economic reforms could be felt. As a result, none of the coalition parties were able to pass the 10% national threshold. In the 2002 parliamentary elections, the CHP won 20% of the vote and 30% of the seats in parliament, and only it and the AKP (Justice and Development Party) entered parliament.

The CHP became the main opposition party again and Turkey's second largest party. It had begun the long road to recovery. However, that this had very little to do with voters supporting CHP. Many were former DSP supporters who were angry at the economic crisis that many blamed on the Ecevit government. Also, many DSP and ANAP supporters left these parties for AKP as did many MHP and Fazilet (now Saadet party) members. Since the dramatic 2002 general election, the CHP has been racked by internal power struggles, and has been outclassed by the AKP government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Many on the left were very critical of the leadership of CHP, especially Deniz Baykal, who they complained was stifling the party of young blood by turning away the young who turn either to apathy or even vote for the AKP. While the AKP boasted a young leadership who have lived through many of the difficulties of many in Turkey, the CHP were seen as an 'old guard' that did not represent modern Turkey. The leftists also are very critical of the party's continuous opposition to the removal of Article 301 of the Turkish penal code; which caused people to be prosecuted for "insulting Turkishness" including Nobel Prize winner author Orhan Pamuk, Elif Şafak, and the conviction of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, its attitude towards the minorities in Turkey, as well as its Cyprus policy.

In the local elections of 2004, its overall share of the vote held, largely through mopping up anti-Erdoğan votes among former supporters of smaller left-wing and secular right-wing parties, but was badly beaten by the AKP across the country, losing former strongholds such as Antalya.[35]

In October 2004, the New Turkey Party (Yeni Türkiye Partisi, YTP) merged into the CHP. Baykal attempted fusing DSP and the CHP together under one roof, namely CHP, under his leadership. In order to present a strong alternative to the AKP in the 2007 general election, the DSP showed a sacrifice and entered the elections together with the CHP. The CHP suffered a heavy defeat, getting 7,300,234 votes (20.85% of the total). The CHP and DSP alliance received 20.9% of the votes and entered the parliament with 112 MPs (13 being DSP candidates) compared to 178 in 2002.. The party finished first only in the three Thracian provinces of Edirne, Tekirdağ, Kırklareli, as well as two provinces on the Aegean coast, which were İzmir and Muğla.

The CHP increased its vote share from 20.9% to 23.1% in the 2009 local elections. The party gained considerable ground by winning over Antalya, Giresun, Zonguldak, Sinop, Tekirdağ, and Aydın, despite losing Trabzon municipality. In 20 provinces of Turkey, the party received less than 3% of the votes.[36] During the election, the party tried to attract conservative and devout Muslims to the party by allowing women who wear the hijab to become party members including promises to introduce Koran courses if requested in every district.[37] However, the allowing of women wearing hijab into the party received a severe blow when a normally non-headscarved member of CHP (Kıymet Özgür) committed a provocation by wearing a black hijab and tried to get into an election bus in Istanbul. The incident raised questions about the CHP's initiatives in favor of religious freedoms.[38] The new initiatives introduced were surprising inside and outside the party, and with military leaders.

On 10 May 2010, Deniz Baykal announced his resignation as leader of the Republican People's Party after a clandestinely made video tape of him, sitting on a bed where a woman is also eminent (identified as Nesrin Baytok, his former private secretary and a member of parliament) was leaked to the media.[39] Although Baykal has stepped down from the chair of his party leadership, he remains active in politics for CHP as a parliament member.[40]

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (2010–present)Edit

On 22 May 2010 the convention of the Republican People's Party elected Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to be the new party leader. Kılıçdaroğlu set about immediately to reform the party. Many critics of the day commented positively how the Kılıçdaroğlu period would see the People's Republican Party move more to the left as in the time of Bülent Ecevit, in contrast to the Baykal period which had moved CHP more closer to centre politics to such an extent that left-wing intellectuals had started to claim how the CHP was becoming a right-wing party.[citation needed] Kılıçdaroğlu saw an immense rise in popularity and support throughout the country and for the first time in twenty years, the party became directly active in the eastern parts of the country.[citation needed] In late 2010, the party held a Great Election where the Party Leader's cabinet was reformed. It marked the complete end of the 'Baykal - Önder Sav' era where all opposition to the changing policy of the CHP was swiftly removed.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's efforts seemed to work. CHP was able to increase the the percentage of voters to 25.98% in the 2011 general election. Yet, in 2012, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu faced an attempted rebellion by the old guard in his own party, reportedly supported by Baykal.[citation needed] However, the attempt failed and at the party congress held in 2012, Kılıçdaroğlu remained the CHP leader. This paved the way for him into following his plans for what he considers renovating the party to becoming a social democratic party in the European context.[citation needed]

Though Kılıçdaroğlu's efforts at rejuvenating the party worked, the party has still not won an election yet. At the 2014 local elections, the CHP received 26.34% of the overall vote. The CHP-backed candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu was able to get only 38.44% of the votes during the presidential election five months later. CHP received 25% in the June 2015 election, and erosion of support for the AKP resulted in a hung parliament. After some negotiations, CHP rejected the possibility of a grand coalition with AKP. A subsequent snap election in November returned a AKP's majority government, and CHP again received 25%.[41]

Party's performance in the 2019 Turkish local elections by province.

For the 2018 general election, Muharrem İnce, a member of parliament for Yalova, was announced as the presidential candidate of the Republican People's Party (CHP) on 3 May 2018. İnce's campaign adopted the slogan “Türkiye’ye güvence Muharrem İnce”, roughly translating to "Muharrem İnce, an assurance to Turkey",[42] and that it kicked off with an election rally in his home city of Yalova on 5 May.[43] İnce lost the election, receiving 30% of the vote without a second round in the run-off election. When it came to the parliamentary eleciton, CHP, İYİ, Saadet, and Democrat parties established the Nation Alliance to challenge the AKP and MHP's People's Alliance in the 2018 Parliamentary elections. Though CHP's vote was reduced to 22% due to strategic voting for other parties, the alliance received 33% of the vote.

The Nation Alliance was reestblished for the 2019 local elections, which great gains for the CHP, winning almost 30% and the municipal mayoralties of Istanbul and Ankara. Some consider their new respective mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş possible candidates for the upcoming 2023 presidential election. Kılıçdaroğlu and İYİ's leader Meral Akşener continue to closely cooperate as opposition parties.


Party headquarters in Ankara, showing a banner urging a "no" vote in the 2017 referendum on establishing a presidential system.

The Republican People's Party is a centre-left political party with traditional ties to the middle and upper-middle classes such as white-collar workers, retired generals, government bureaucrats, academics, college students, left-leaning intellectuals and labour unions such as DİSK.[18] The distance between the party administration and many leftist grassroots, especially left oriented Kurdish voters, contributed to the party's shift away from the political left,[44] which the party is returning to. The CHP usually draw much of their support from secular and liberally religious voters with a stable electorate from voters of big cities, coastal regions, the professional middle-class, and minority groups such as Alevis. According to The Economist, "to the dismay of its own leadership the CHP’s core constituency, as well as most of its MPs, are Alevis."[45] The party's leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, is also an Alevi himself.[46] The party's strongholds are the Aegean region (İzmir, Aydın, Muğla), the Thrace region (Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ) the Eastern black sea region (Ardahan and Artvin) and the Anatolian college town of Eskişehir.

The party holds a significant position in the Socialist International, Progressive Alliance and is an associate member of the Party of European Socialists. In 2014 the CHP urged the Socialist International to accept the Republican Turkish Party of Northern Cyprus as an full member.[47]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey and the current economic crisis[48] polls indicate the party and its alliance has been seeing increasing support.[49][50][50][51][52] especially amongst Generation Z.[53] Generation Z will be first-time voters and will make up a high percentage of voters in the next presidential elections.[15][19]

Internal caucusesEdit

CHP has several internal caucuses.[54]

  • Kılıçdaroğlu group (Kılıçdaroğlu grubu), a caucus that is in favor of Nation Alliance and general secretaryhood of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
  • 10 December Movement (10 Aralık Hareketi), a caucus founded by former DİSK secretary Süleyman Çelebi to create an alternative "new party". It defends social democracy and federalism, while opposing Kemalism and unitarism within the party. They have included ÖDP, SHP, DSP and independent left candidates in their tickets.[55]
  • İnce group (İnce grubu), a caucus that endorsed Muharrem İnce's presidential candidacy and opposition within the party. It includes Kemalist and nationalist circles.
  • Baykal group (Baykal grubu), a caucus that is founded by names loyal to Deniz Baykal. It lost its significance due to Baykal's stagnating health.
  • Left Wing for the Future (Gelecek İçin Sol Kanat), a left-populist caucus that aims to build "new left politics" within the party. It includes social democrat and democratic socialist groups within, and integrates ideas like participatory democracy, anti-militarism and anti-imperialism to mainstream republicanism. On July 1, 2021, We for the Future group decided to merge with another internal caucus, the ‘Left Wing’. The name of the new group has been announced as 'Left Wing for the Future'.[56]
  • Youth group (Gençler grubu), the caucus that is founded by young central committee members to target the youth. It pushes a centrist agenda within the party.

Historical leadersEdit

No. Name
Portrait Term in Office
1 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
  9 September 1923 10 November 1938
2 İsmet İnönü
  26 December 1938 8 May 1972
3 Bülent Ecevit
  14 May 1972 30 October 1980
Party closed down following the 12 September 1980 coup d'état
4 Deniz Baykal
  9 September 1992 18 February 1995
5 Hikmet Çetin
  18 February 1995 9 September 1995
(4) Deniz Baykal
  9 September 1995 23 May 1999
6 Altan Öymen
  23 May 1999 30 September 2000
(4) Deniz Baykal
  30 September 2000 10 May 2010
7 Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
  22 May 2010 Incumbent

Election resultsEdit

General electionsEdit

General election record of the Republican People's Party (CHP)
     0–10%         10–20%         20–30%         30–40%         40–50%         50–60%         60–70%
Election Leader Vote Seats Changes Result Outcome Map
İsmet İnönü
397 / 503
  73 1st
Majority government
1950 3,176,561
69 / 492
  328 39.45% 2nd
Main opposition
1954 3,161,696
31 / 537
  38 35.36%
  4.09 pp
Main opposition
1957 3,753,136
178 / 602
 147 41.09%
  4.73 pp
Main opposition
1961 3,724,752
173 / 450
  5 36.74%
  4.35 pp
Minority government
1965 2,675,785
134 / 450
  39 28.75%
  7.99 pp
Main opposition
1969 2,487,163
143 / 450
  9 27.37%
  1.38 pp
Main opposition
Bülent Ecevit
185 / 450
  42 33.30%
  5.93 pp
Minority government
5 June 1977  
213 / 450
  28 41.38%
  8.09 pp
Minority government
6 November 1983 Party closed following the 1980 Turkish coup d'état and succeeded by the Populist Party (1983–85), the Social Democracy Party (1983-85) and the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) in 1985 after the latter two parties merged. The CHP was re-established in 1992 by dissident SHP members after banned political parties were allowed to re-establish, with the SHP and CHP merging in 1995.
29 October 1987
20 October 1991
24 December 1995  
Deniz Baykal
49 / 550
  49 10.71%
  10.71 pp
In opposition
18 April 1999  
0 / 550
  49 8.71%
  2.00 pp
Not in parliament
3 November 2002  
178 / 550
  178 19.39%
  10.68 pp
Main opposition
22 July 2007  
112 / 550
  66 20.88%
  1.50 pp
Main opposition
12 June 2011  
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
135 / 550
  23 25.98%
  5.10 pp
Main opposition
7 June 2015  
132 / 550
  3 24.95%
  1.03 pp
Main opposition
1 November 2015  
134 / 550
  2 25.32%
  0.37 pp
Main opposition
24 June 2018  
146 / 600
  12 22.64%
  2.68 pp
Main opposition

Presidential electionsEdit

Presidential election record of the Republican People's Party (CHP)
Election Candidate Votes % Outcome Map
10 August 2014  
Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu
Cross-party with MHP
15,587,720 38.44% 2nd  
24 June 2018  
Muharrem İnce
15,340,321 30.64% 2nd  

Senate electionsEdit

Election date Party leader Number of votes received Percentage of votes Number of senators
1961 İsmet İnönü 3,734,285 36,1% 36
1964 İsmet İnönü 1,125,783 40,8% 19
1966 İsmet İnönü 877,066 29,6% 13
1968 İsmet İnönü 899,444 27,1% 13
1973 Bülent Ecevit 1,412,051 33,6% 25
1975 Bülent Ecevit 2,281,470 43,4% 25
1977 Bülent Ecevit 2,037,875 42,4% 28
1979 Bülent Ecevit 1,378,224 29,1% 12

Local electionsEdit

Election date Party leader Provincial council votes Percentage of votes Number of municipalities
1963 İsmet İnönü 3,458,972 36,22% No data
1968 İsmet İnönü 2,542,644 27,90% No data
1973 Bülent Ecevit 3,708,687 37,09% No data
1977 Bülent Ecevit 5,161,426 41,73% No data
1994 Deniz Baykal 1,297,371 4,61% 64
1999 Deniz Baykal 3,487,483 11,08% 373
2004 Deniz Baykal 5,848,180 18,38% 392
2009 Deniz Baykal 9,233,662 23,11% 499[57]
2014 Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu 10,938,262 26,34% 232
2019 Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu 12,625,346 29,36% 241

See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit