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MURAT YETKİN > Erdoğan after one-man rule: CHP leader

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President Gül is trying to find a way out of the crisis and that will strengthen democracy in Turkey, main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu says. CİHAN photo

President Gül is trying to find a way out of the crisis and that will strengthen democracy in Turkey, main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu says. CİHAN photo

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan has a hidden agenda and that is to establish a "one-man rule in Turkey” claims Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) during a press luncheon in Istanbul on Jan. 15. 

Slamming Erdoğan for trying to cover up major corruption probes by trying to manipulate the judiciary, Kılıçdaroğlu said Erdoğan wanted “to concentrate all state power to himself.” “The only reason why he dispersed the Parliamentary Committee for a new Constitution, despite the fact that all four parties had agreed on a 60-article amendment,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, “Was that we did not accept his formula for President. He wants to be both the President and the Party chairman in a way that he could hand-pick all deputies in the parliament, appoint all governors himself and judges, too… That would be a one-party state; moreover, he wants to establish his own rule, own state. We’re not going to let him do that.”

The graft probe started on Dec. 17, 2013, is continuing to rock Turkish politics. Erdoğan had to sack four of his ministers from the cabinet whose names are involved in the bribery allegations. Two of the former ministers’ sons are still in jail on bribery charges. The general manager of a government-controlled bank is arrested and unable to explain properly some $ 4.5 million in cash found in shoe boxes in the bedroom of his house; shoeboxes became one of the symbols of corruption in Turkey already. Erdoğan sees the graft operation as a “coup attempt” against his Justice and Development Party (AK Parti, “ak” in Turkish meaning white, clean) government by those “outer” forces who do not want Turkey to prosper and get powerful under his rule. He particularly points his finger at a U.S.-resident moderate Islamist scholar Fethullah Gülen and his sympathizers in the judiciary and police force who were Erdoğan’s closest allies in carrying out probes against the military and members of old, secular establishment within universities and bureaucracy. Erdoğan accuses them of forming a “parallel state,” or a hidden structure within the government’s, claiming that the law was drafted to have more control on judges and prosecutors was to get rid of that “parallel state.”

“I’m against parallel structures within the government, too” Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday; “But Erdoğan is the prime minister. He has all that intelligence agencies and police force. If he has any evidence about such illegitimate groups, he should give them to prosecutors who have to carry out a proper investigation. He wants to divert attention from corruption probes, but it’s too late for that. I do not see any ‘coup attempt’ against his government. What I see is a corruption probe and I ask him not to block it.”

In the press luncheon, Kılıçdaroğlu gave a self-confident, calm impression but with sharp words.”Erdoğan’s haste, agitation is because he is the source of corruption” Kılıçdaroğlu claims; ”The NGO called TÜRGEV, where his son, other family members are on the board, is a center of bribery. When you win a tender through corruption, you go and make donations there; that’s how it works. If all that graft was outside of his personal knowledge, he could have left the probes alone. He knows all about them and that is why he is trying to stop them.”

“We have concerns” Kılıçdaroğlu continued; ”that Erdoğan is ready to do everything possible in and out of the law in order to stay in the government. Because he knows that, the next day he will have to give an account of what he has done. That’s why we make a call to everyone, to media, universities and the society that democracy is not our problem only, as the opposition party. Democracy is a problem of all of us and we all have to claim for it.”

Kılıçdaroğlu answered questions about the recent initiative of President Abdullah Gül, urging parties to solve the crisis between the administration and judiciary through a Constitutional amendment package. “The president’s initiative is a positive one,” the CHP leader said; ”the President is trying to find a way out of the crisis which would strengthen democracy in Turkey. We support the idea. But Erdoğan refrains from withdrawing the current draft which we believe would be a disaster for Turkish democracy if it passes with Justice and Development domination in the Parliament in the way it is. We expect the President not to approve it, if that were to be the case.”

January/16/2014

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