KRG independence referendum may be a 'casus belli' for Turkey: MHP head
The independence referendum of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), due to be held on Sept. 25, should be deemed a “cause of war” for Turkey if necessary, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said on Aug. 24.
“We must disapprove of Barzani’s referendum preparations, including in Turkmen towns, to the end. It should be known that this potential referendum is a rehearsal for Kurdistan. This referendum is completely against Turkmens and Turkey. It should be deemed a cause of war for Turkey if necessary,” Bahçeli said at a press briefing.
“A dark enmity is trying to create an illegitimate, de facto situation, which completely violates international law and our sovereign rights,” he said.
“We have to show our national power no matter what and defeat those who want to destroy our home and divide our land,” he added.
Responding to a question about work to form a new party by dissident former MHP members, Bahçeli said it is “beneficial.”
Former lawmaker Engin Aydın is the latest figure to resign from the MHP and announce his participation in the new movement, and Bahçeli said his resignation was “unilateral choice.”
“The choice has to be respected. Anyway it was beneficial for our party’s perspective,” he added.
On whether he anticipates new resignations from the party, Bahçeli said “our door is open, those who want to come in can come in, those who want to leave can leave.”
Rumors of CHP leader’s jailing
The MHP head also addressed the ongoing row between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over rumors that CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu may be jailed.
“In our opinion, arguments about the main opposition leader’s imprisonment harm our democratic life and pollute the political atmosphere,” Bahçeli said.
His comments came after the AKP and the CHP engaged in a bitter row over rumors that Kılıçdaroğlu could become embroiled in the legal case in which CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu has already been imprisoned.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said in Antalya on Aug. 13 that people should “not be surprised if Kılıçdaroğlu’s link to the issue [of Berberoğlu] is revealed,” after which CHP officials suggested that the issue “will transform into a plot against the CHP,” including the imprisonment of Kılıçdaroğlu.
The MHP leader claimed that the CHP officials are “in an effort to gain profit from [the discussion].”
“We think that it is rather tragicomic that Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu draws abnormal conclusions from momentary comments of the president. [The CHP] thinks it will be strengthened by handcuffs,” Bahçeli said.
“A deliberate, systematic, and dark campaign is being conducted. It should be seen that the heated debate on the CHP leader is deliberately brought up into the agenda and there are domestic and foreign legs to this issue,” he added.
‘Post-coup measures should be just’
Bahçeli also said stressed that the Turkish government’s sweeping post-coup attempt purge “should be carried out within the framework of justice.”
“If the struggle against [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ is not carried out within just measures, and if the difference between the criminal and the innocent is not taken into consideration, it is possible that there will be more July 15’s,” Bahçeli said, referring to the date of last year’s coup attempt.
The MHP leader also reiterated his earlier urging for the government to reveal the “political leg” of the coup attempt.
“It is inescapable duty to punish the active planners, participants, main actors, intermediate staff and devilish people who seek hope in Pennsylvania’s treachery through the political leg. Each and every name should be uncovered, rather than dealing with mere janitors and tea-sellers,” he said.