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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

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Title: Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu  
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Subject: Turkish general election, 2011, Alevi history, Reyhanlı bombings, Aydın Güven Gürkan, Constitutional history of Turkey
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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
22 May 2010
Preceded by Deniz Baykal
Leader of the Republican People's Party
Assumed office
22 May 2010
Preceded by Deniz Baykal
Personal details
Born (1948-12-17) 17 December 1948
Ballıca, Turkey
Political party Republican People's Party
Spouse(s) Sevim Kılıçdaroğlu
Children Aslı
Alma mater Gazi University
Religion Alevi
Website Official site

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (pronounced ; born 17 December 1948) is a Turkish social democrat politician. He is leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and has been Leader of the Main Opposition in Turkey since 2010. He has been a Member of Parliament for İstanbul since 2002.

He was nominated by the CHP as candidate for Mayor of Istanbul in the 2009 local elections, in which he gained 36.8% of all votes. He is considered likely to breathe new life into the CHP.[1] Although he increased the votes of his party, he was unsuccessful to win any elections.

Kılıçdaroğlu was elected deputy chairman of the Socialist International on August 31, 2012.[2]

Early life

He was born on December 17, 1948 in Ballıca village of Nazımiye district in Tunceli Province, eastern Turkey[3] to Kamer, a clerk-recorder of deeds and his wife Yemuş. He was the fourth of seven children.[4] His father was among thousands of exiled Alevis following the failed Dersim Rebellion.[5]

The family belonged to the Cebeligiller clan of the Kureyşan tribe and Zaza[6] origin, but he said his roots have come from Turkmen.[7] His father changed their family name in the 1950s from originally Karabulut to Kılıçdaroğlu since all the people in the village they lived in had the same family name.[4]

Kemal continued his primary and secondary education in various places like Erciş, Tunceli, Genç and Elazığ. He was educated in economics at the Ankara Academy of Economics and Commercial Sciences (now Gazi University), from which he graduated in 1971. During his youth days, he earned his living by selling goods.[4]

Professional career

After university, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu entered the Ministry of Finance as a junior account specialist in 1971. He was later promoted to accountant and was sent to [4][8]

In 1994, Kılıçdaroğlu was named "Civil Servant of the Year" by the weekly periodical Ekonomik Trend.[4]

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu retired from the Social Security Organization in January 1999. Kılıçdaroğlu taught at the Hacettepe University and chaired the Specialized Commission on the Informal Economy within the framework of the preparation of the Eighth Five-Year Development Plan. He also acted as a member of the Executive Board of İş Bank.[9]


Kılıçdaroğlu during a public appearance in Ankara (April 12, 2011)

During his chairmanship of Social Security Organization, he was invited by the leader of the CHP, Deniz Baykal, to join his party. He accepted the invitation.[4]

Following the 2002 general election, he entered the parliament as a deputy from Istanbul. In the 2007 general election, he was re-elected to parliament. He became deputy speaker of his party's parliamentary group.[4]

Kılıçdaroğlu's efforts to uncover malpractice among high-ranking Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians carried him to headlines in the Turkish media. Two deputy chairmen of the ruling AKP, Şaban Dişli (tr) and Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, resigned from their respective positions in the party following television debates with Kılıçdaroğlu. Furthermore, he publicly accused the AKP-affiliated Mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek, of complicity in a corruption scandal relating to the "Deniz Feneri" charity based in Germany.[4]

Election to CHP leadership

Long-time leader of the CHP, Deniz Baykal, resigned on May 10, 2010 following a video tape scandal. Kılıçdaroğlu announced his candidacy for the position on May 17, five days before an upcoming party convention. According to reports, the party was divided over the leadership issue, with its Central Executive Board insisting that Baykal retake the position.[10] But after Kılıçdaroğlu received the support of 77 of his party's 81 provincial chairpersons,[11] Baykal decided not to run for re-election.[12]

For a candidacy to become official, CHP by-laws require the support of 20% of convention delegates.[13] At the party convention, which started on May 22, 2010, Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy received the signatures of 1,246 out of the 1,250 delegates, which set a new record for the CHP.[14]

In view of this overwhelming support, the presidium of the party convention decided to move the election, initially scheduled for Sunday, forward to Saturday. As now expected, Kılıçdaroğlu was elected as party chairman. The election was unanimous, with 1,189 votes (not counting eight votes that were found to be invalid).[15][16]

Family life

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu married Selvi (unofficially Sevim) in 1974. The couple has a son, Kerem, two daughters, Aslı and Zeynep, and a granddaughter from Aslı's marriage.[4] Some journals denoted his Alevi identity,[17] however Kılıçdaroğlu didn't make a statement about his religious belief for a long time. In July 2011, he said "I always refused to do politics on ethnic identities and religion. I am an Alevi. Since when is it a crime to be Alevi in this country?".[18]


  1. ^ Strauss, Delphine (21 May 2011). "Turkey's Gandhi chosen to lead opposition".  
  2. ^
  3. ^ Yalçın, Soner (23 May 2010). "Kılıçdaroğlu hakkında bilinmeyen tek gerçek".  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Nazımiyeli ailenin okuyan tek çocuğu".  
  5. ^ "The Turkish opposition: Gandhi's rise".  
  6. ^ Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Kürt değil, Zaza kökenli. (Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, is not Kurd, but Zaza descent.), İdris Gürsoy, Aleviler Kılıçdaroğlu’nu nereye taşıyacak?, Aksyon, 13 September 2010.
  7. ^ Faruk Bildirici, "Citizen Kılıçdaroğlu: Turkish opposition chief in his own words", 'Hürriyet Daily News, 11 July 2010, retrieved 11 January 2011.
  8. ^ Party Leader Biography,, retrieved 11 January 2011.
  9. ^ Party Leader Biography, retrieved 02 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Kılıçdaroğlu announcement splits Turkish opposition party".  
  11. ^ "Kılıçdaroğlu receives broad support from party base".  
  12. ^ Habib Güler (May 21, 2010). "Baykal announces he will not run as debate heats up over new CHP".  
  13. ^ "CHP delegates convene to elect new leader".  
  14. ^ "CHP'de tarihi kurultay". Habertürk (in Turkish). May 22, 2010. 
  15. ^ İzgi Güngör (May 22, 2010). "'"Kılıçdaroğlu wins CHP leadership, challenges Turkish PM 'Mr. Recep.  
  16. ^ "Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu new leader of opposition Party CHP". National Turk. May 22, 2010. 
  17. ^ Turkey’s opposition: A new Kemal: Kemal Kilicdaroglu gives new hope to the Turkish opposition, by The Economist, dated May 27th 2010, ANKARA.
  18. ^ "Alevi'yim ne var bunda". CNNTurk (in Turkish). June 17, 2011. 

External links

  • Official website (Turkish)
  • Official Facebook page
  • Official Twitter account
  • s biography at TBMM's websiteKemal Kılıçdaroğlu' (Turkish)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Deniz Baykal
Leader of the Republican People's Party
Political offices
Preceded by
Deniz Baykal
Leader of the Opposition
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