CHP to gov’t: Don’t repeat your mistakes
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed the government for taking indiscriminate post-coup attempt measures and carrying out a “witch hunt” against independent media, academics and teachers in Turkey.
“Saying ‘the rain falls on both the just and unjust does not absolve you of responsibility.’ On the contrary, it means you see and know what’s happening and you’re aware of your mistakes but continue doing the same thing anyway,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his address ahead of a CHP Party Assembly to mark the 93rd anniversary of the party’s founding.
“If you try to run the country with the feelings of revenge and hatred, then you will cause suffering for many innocent people. This is the point we have reached now. A total witch hunt has been launched in many fields,” he added.
Recalling President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent urgings for purges to continue in the state, Kılıçdaroğlu questioned the government’s responsibility for the current situation.
“Who is responsible for this? Who is in government? Who is the prime minister, president of the country? Who is guilty? The government is never guilty. On the one hand you complain but on the other hand you continue to implement these measures,” he said.
The media is the “first leg of the witch hunt,” the CHP head suggested, as 113 journalists have been arrested, 2,308 have lost their jobs, and countless newspapers and television channels have been closed since the coup attempt.
“It is not right to take the attitude saying, ‘I have taken authority from the state of emergency. I can do whatever I want.’ Turkey is rapidly turning into an authoritarian structure. Everyone should be very careful about this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“We are speaking openly and clearly: We never favor the arrest of any journalist or any writers. You cannot explain this situation to the contemporary world. In fact, none of the journalists who have been arrested or detained have supported the CHP. But we defend their rights. Because we are the CHP and we defend democracy,” he added.
The academy is the site of the “second leg of the witch hunt,” Kılıçdaroğlu also said, referring to the scores of academics who have been jailed for signing a petition in favor of peace, while the “third leg” are ordinary teachers, 11,285 of whom were recently dismissed on the grounds of having alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“If these 11,285 teachers were linked to the terror organization, where have you been for 14 years? Who appointed them? Don’t you have any responsibility? There is only one reason for their dismissal: These teachers are all members of a certain trade union,” he said, referring to the progressive Eğitim-Sen teachers’ union.
Many actions of the government in the post-coup process violate the principle of individual criminal responsibility, the CHP leader also stated, particularly citing the annulment of the passport of Dilek Dündar, the wife of journalist Can Dündar, who has been living abroad since he was prosecuted over a news story published by daily Cumhuriyet.
“Can the state take innocent people hostage? Can there be such a thing in the rule of law?” Kılıçdaroğlu said, rejecting the government’s comparison of the state of emergency declared in Turkey with the ongoing state of emergency in France.
The CHP leader also expressed concerns over the fact that more than 500 companies have been appointed trustee administrators by the government over suspected links to the Gülenists, suggesting that the new management appointed to these companies would likely be made up of individuals close to ruling party cadres.