Main opposition CHP leader accuses gov’t of launching ‘smear campaign’
Abdulkadir Selvi – ANKARA
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Aug. 11 accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of launching a “smear campaign” against him in an attempt to obscure an AKP member’s controversial remarks on “founding a new state.”
“Their aim is to take the AKP member Ayhan Oğan’s remarks off the agenda. This is why they are hitting [me] below the belt,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet.
Following the CHP head’s interview with the German magazine Focus published on Aug. 5, the AKP intensified its criticism against him, accusing the CHP leader of acting as “the mouthpiece of foreign lobbies operating against Turkey.”
Kılıçdaroğlu allegedly told Focus that “German tourists should not visit Turkey,” a statement the CHP leader denies making, demanding a correction from the magazine.
“I ask the AKP chairman whether they will take action against Ayhan Oğan. They should either carry out action against him or stand behind him. I also have a second question: Why do the enemies of Atatürk and his regime always come out of the AKP?” he added.
AKP’s spokesperson Mahir Ünal on Aug. 10 had said Oğan, a former AKP Central Decision Making and Executive Council (MKYK) member, should account for his controversial remarks.
“His defense must be taken in order for a party to impose measures based on the expression of his thoughts,” Ünal told private broadcaster NTV.
Meanwhile, Kılıçdaroğlu also touched upon his controversial interview with Focus, saying the magazine mistakenly portrayed him as suggesting that German tourists should stay away from Turkey as “there is no security of life and property” for them in the country.
“Such an expression is out of the question. But that magazine is not the only place where I have said that as long there is emergency rule, there is no state of law in Turkey and that no one has safety of life and property,” he told Hürriyet.
“I also said it in a session in the Turkish Parliament with the attendance of all four [party] chairmen. I have said this every Tuesday in the CHP parliamentary group meeting. I have said it to the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges [TOBB] in the face of businessmen and industrialists. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was here as well as the ministers. Should I have told the German media things I did not believe?” Kılıçdaroğlu added.