Kılıçdaroğlu to EU: Don’t punish 80 million people
ANKARAThe European Union should not punish Turkey’s 80 million people with its actions against the country’s government, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, commenting on a European Parliament vote on Nov. 24 to temporarily freeze accession talks with Ankara.
“Don’t impose sanctions on a country with a population of 80 million after getting angry at a person and his words,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a speech in Istanbul’s Bakırköy, adding that if the EU imposed sanctions on Turkey merely because of the country’s president, it would be tantamount to punishing the entire nation.
“We are fighting that struggle in our country already,” he said.
Tension rose between the EU and Turkey after the parliament’s vote, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım dismissing the vote and hitting back hard at the bloc.
Saying that Turkey’s face was turned toward the West, Kılıçdaroğlu added that Turkey defended the idea of a democratic state.
“The European Parliament took a decision. They temporarily froze Turkey’s negotiation process. This is a recommendation. I would like to call on all members of the EU and all its authorities. The Turkish Republic has been facing the West since the very day it was founded. We are a nation that unconditionally defends a secular, democratic and social state of law,” he said.
During his speech, Kılıçdaroğlu called on Yıldırım to bring “absolute democracy and freedom to Turkey.”
“I would like to give Binali Yıldırım a clear message. The essence of the negotiations with the European Union is democracy. If you are defending democracy, superiority of law, human rights, judicial independence and if you want absolute democracy in Turkey, all of the CHP’s lawmakers in parliament will give support to make the necessary legal arrangements. If you have the courage, let’s bring absolute democracy and freedom to the Turkish Republic with our free will and without waiting for them to open chapters or continue negotiations. Why would anybody impose it on us?” he asked.