Aksener said on Turkish television after a meeting with Iyi delegates that her party wanted to select a joint candidate based on the results of public polls. However, the possible candidates she then proposed, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas, were rejected by the other parties.
Instead, her party should have been forced to opt for Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the largest opposition party CHP, who is favored by the other five parties in the alliance. "We will not bow to it," said the Iyi boss. She accused Kilicdaroglu of putting "personal ambitions" ahead of the country's interests.
The two mayors, who also belong to the social-democratic CHP, asked them to run for office themselves. "Our nation loves you, our nation wants you," Aksener said.
Yavas said on Tuesday that he supports "his leader" Kilicdaroglu but is ready to do his "duty" if the coalition asks him to do so. Imamoglu reiterated on Friday that he supports Kilicdaroglu's candidacy.
Kilicdaroglu stated that he wanted to open the opposition alliance to other parties. "We have to invite all the colors of Turkey to this table. (...) This table has to be bigger. Nobody can prevent that," Kilicdaroglu explained on Twitter.
He accused Aksener - without naming her - of adopting "Erdogan's language" and his "political games and rudeness". The people shouldn't worry. "We will definitely defeat Erdogan and his propaganda machine. Be sure, we will win," said the CHP boss.
Kilicdaroglu's nomination is set to be officially announced on Monday. Many opposition supporters accuse the 74-year-old Alevi of a lack of charisma. The pro-Kurdish left-wing party HDP, which is not part of the opposition alliance and has not yet announced its own presidential candidate, is sympathetic to Kilicdaroglu's candidacy.
According to expert Anthony Skinner, Aksener's departure from the alliance is "a major blow" to the opposition's electoral prospects. "She gave Erdogan a nice gift," said Verisk Maplecroft, a political expert at risk assessment firm.
The presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 14 - a good three months after the devastating earthquake in the Turkish-Syrian border area that killed more than 45,000 in Turkey alone. Erdogan is seeking another term. The opposition accuses him, among other things, of not having adequately prepared the country for earthquakes.
The opposition alliance was originally supposed to announce its joint candidate next Monday. According to Turkish media, the CHP has now called an extraordinary meeting of its central executive board after Aksener's statements.