Main opposition leader criticizes leading business group for ‘trying to look cute to Erdoğan’
CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu appeared for a live interview on broadcaster Fox TV late on Sept. 18. AA PhotoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has chided Turkey’s leading business organization for inviting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with whom it had chilly ties in the past, to its recent convention.
“The business world shouldn't try to look cute for certain people. They should stand upright and stand behind their words,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a live interview with broadcaster Fox TV late on Sept. 18.
The Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) invited Erdoğan to its High Consultation Council meeting on Sept. 18 in Istanbul. Relations between Erdoğan and TÜSİAD, Turkey’s most influential business group, have long been thorny. Erdoğan, the former prime minister, has repeatedly urged TÜSİAD “to mind its own business” as the business group has on a number of occasions criticized his government over issues related to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
Recalling TÜSİAD’s calls for Erdoğan to improve his respect for the superiority of the rule of law in the past, Kılıçdaoğlu said he "did not understand" how they invited somebody “who is so far from the law, just because he sits in the presidency.”
“They shouldn’t surrender to this fear. Inviting people who don’t believe in the law and who unfairly threaten others is to be enslaved and defeated by this fear,” he added.
Erdoğan’s attendance at the meeting was seen by many as possibly marking a thaw in the chilly relations between himself and TÜSİAD after he assumed his new role as president.
Despite continuing to reiterate their call for the government to improve a number of deficiencies in the political and economic systems in Turkey, TÜSİAD Chairman Haluk Dinçer has been trying to avoid harsh encounters with Erdoğan since he took the helm at the organization in June.
In his speech at the Sept. 18 meeting, Dinçer warned that “polarization” in Turkey might thwart progress in making much-needed economic reforms, while pledging the business world’s support for politicians in the bid to end social tension.