BDP deputy apologizes for accusations against main opposition mayor
Sırrı Süreyya Önder(C). AA PhotoPeace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder apologized to Republican People’s Party (CHP) Sinop Mayor Baki Ergül today for accusing him of involvement in the protests that occurred when the BDP deputies visited the Black Sea province Feb. 18.
“We blamed the mayor because of a local paper’s report but we could not confirm the story,” Önder said at a press conference in Parliament. “We take it back. We apologize.”
BDP deputies Önder, Sebahat Tuncel and Ertuğrul Kürkçü, as well as independent deputy Levent Tüzel, arrived in Sinop to a crowd of 200 protesters during their scheduled tour of four Black Sea provinces.
Severe protests continued throughout the day, forcing the deputies to take shelter in the building of the press conference. Sinop Gov. Ahmet Cengiz visited the deputies in the building, after which the group left with an escort of two tanks, two minibuses and a police car.
Following the incident, Önder accused Ergül, while clearing the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of any involvement, but Ergül denied all the accusations.
The BDP decided to cancel the remainder of the trip following more protests against the tour the following day in Samsun.
The events received reaction from all political fronts, the latest being from Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who described the incident as “ugly” during a university conference.
“Those are deputies of the Turkish Parliament,” Bozdağ said. “It is terribly wrong to greet people willing to share views with sticks and stones. Those with strong minds do not take up violence.”
Bozdağ called on opposition members to step in. “There are evaluations being made regarding CHP and MHP involvement,” Bozdağ said. “It would be good if they too call for common sense. No one should be frightened to say how they feel in Turkey.”
Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı also commented on the event, saying elections were the time to punish deputies, if necessary.
“A deputy of the people will travel and talk. If he does wrong, he’ll pay the price. And how will he pay the price? At elections,” Yazıcı said. “A deputy does not belong to a region or to a unit, but to the nation. That individual, whether we like him or not, is a representative of the nation.”