The Party of European Socialists (PES) has endorsed Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the main opposition leader and presidential candidate of an opposition bloc of parties, in Sunday’s presidential election, according to a statement from the PES on Thursday.
“Kılıçdaroğlu’s united opposition campaign is built on promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the European agenda after years of increasingly centralised power under Erdoğan,” the party, the second largest political family represented in the EU, said in its statement.
The PES recalled that Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of PES associate member the Republican People’s Party (CHP), pledged to swiftly fulfill the remaining benchmarks to complete the Visa Liberalization Roadmap to grant visa-free travel for Turkish citizens.
In April Kılıçdaroğlu promised that Turkish citizens will be able to travel visa-free to the European Union if he is elected on May 14.
“We will come to power and win the presidency, and we will make this country a place where one can breathe freely within a year at the latest. In three months’ time, every citizen will be able to travel to Europe without a visa,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, without elaborating the steps to be taken to fulfill the promise.
“The PES has always supported the efforts of the democratic opposition in Türkiye to fight for democracy, rule of law and human rights – vital aspects which can bring the country closer to European values and back on the track of the EU accession process,” the PES statement said.
According to PES Executive Secretary-General Giacomo Filibeck, Kılıçdaroğlu, the CHP and the united opposition represent a beacon of hope for democracy, human rights, freedom, cooperation and bringing Turkey closer to Europe.
Kılıçdaroğlu also promises to restart accession negotiations with the EU, which were frozen less than a decade after Turkey applied to join the bloc in 1999.
“It is in this spirit that we are pleased to count on the CHP and on Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership to continue progressing towards the achievement of the remaining – and very critical – criteria for the visa liberalisation. For us European social democrats and progressives, Türkiye is a crucial partner. We support all steps that can bring the country closer to the fundamental values that we share,” Filibeck added.