CHP leader promises democracy for party, country
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP head arrives at the scene. AA PhotoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) extraordinary convention has opened amid tensions as a leading dissident lawmaker said the gathering had failed to reach the required quorum.
According to Deputy Chairman Erdoğan Toprak, 839 of the 1,200 party delegates signed the attendance book in the Ankara Arena, well above the simple majority required for the convention to go ahead.
But as Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu made his opening remarks, dissident lawmaker İsa Gök attempted to enter the hall to issue an objection over the quorum but faced resistance from party delegates, leading to scuffles.
“I want you to be confident that no one can stop our march with the people. A CHP that has embraced democracy and freedom will be always up on its feet,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Gök was later able to come in and submit a formal paper of objection to the convention board, arguing that only 380 delegates signed the attendance book and that the remaining signatures were forged. In response, members of the party’s youth branches chanted “İsa out!”
The intra-party opposition had issued a boycott call for the convention in a bid to thwart the gathering and shake Kılıçdaroğlu’s standing as party leader.
Kılıçdaroğlu has promised democracy both for his own party and Turkey during his extraordinary party convention, which was called amid a rift between his supporters and party dissidents.
Describing Turkey's regime as “a post-modern dictatorship,” he called on the government to abolish special-authority courts and lengthy pre-trial detention periods.
The CHP's extraordinary convention was convened with 948 of 1,200 delegates, convention chair and Denizli deputy Adnan Keskin has announced. Former chairman Deniz Baykal and former secretary-general Önder Sav have shunned the convention, while their supporters called for a boycott of the gathering to prevent Kılıçdaroğlu’s supporters from reaching quorum.
Addressing a crowd of more than 20,000 party members, Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP would not expend its energy on intra-party struggles after changing its statutes and becoming more democratic.
Promising more democracy, rule of law, peace and justice, Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP's statutes would become the most democratic in the country after today's convention.
The CHP leader also urged the government to abolish the special-authority courts.
“Let's abolish special authority courts and lengthy detention periods. The lawmakers who were elected with the people's will should not remain behind bars. Let's abolish all anti-democratic laws that are products of the Sept. 12  coup. Let's abolish the election threshold and let's create an independent judiciary. This is the democracy call of the CHP. If we do these, Turkey will be normalized,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Two of the party’s lawmakers remain in jail on coup-plotting charges.
Kılıçdaroğlu called on the people to resist “the post-modern dictatorship of the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party].”
Meanwhile, convention chair Keskin refused dissident İsa Gök's formal objection, which said only 380 delegates signed the attendance book and that the remaining signatures were forged. Keskin said a majority of the delegates had attended the convention and that Gök's request was unlawful.