Why did Erdoğan meet with CHP leader Özel?

Turkey's President Erdoğan has met with a representative of the largest opposition party, the CHP, for the first time in eight years. It is not known exactly what the Turkish president and CHP leader Özgür Özel discussed, but speculation is rife in the commentary sections of the national press.

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Karar (TR) /

Don't expect too much

For Karar, the meeting will bring no change in Turkish domestic policy:

“Erdoğan, who sees it as a weakness to follow the voters' express wishes and display a tendency towards democratisation, prefers to provide temporary relief for the economy and continue to behave as he has done up to now. ... Özel, as leader of the strongest party that is so close to power, is doing exactly the right thing and conveying its message to the voters by not giving Erdoğan the trump card of coming across as an uncompromising party. Erdoğan, on the other hand, is trying to buy time in view of the demoralised mood after the election and force the CHP to adopt a calmer stance towards him.”

Yetkin Report (TR) /

The country's problems cannot wait

Even if by meeting with Erdoğan Özel underscored the president's power, the meeting was important and necessary, Murat Yetkin explains on his blog:

“Unless something unexpected happens, such as the president stepping down due to health concerns or death, or snap elections, the next ballot is still four and a half years away. That's a long time, but the country has urgent problems that can't wait. ... That's why I don't think it should be considered futile to sit down and negotiate with Erdoğan and [his supporter, MHP leader] Bahçeli as part of a calm, planned and deliberate strategy, making mutual concessions if necessary and trying to maximise what can be gained.”

Birgün (TR) /

Palace regime starting to disintegrate

Erdoğan is relying on normalisation because he has no other choice, Birgün comments:

“The palace regime is in more trouble than ever. ... Neither the financial circles nor the Western leaders will give it what it wants. The defeat on 31 March, the cancellation of Erdoğan's visit to the White House, the lack of foreign funding - these overlapping factors are forcing the palace to take steps. ... The regime has begun to disintegrate. Erdoğan is leaving no stone unturned to consolidate his power. He is seeking support both at home and abroad. With his 'détente strategy' he is trying to kill several birds with one stone.”