Main opposition slams Erdoğan over wiretapping
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), speaks during a breakfast with Ankara media bureau chiefs.The leader of the main opposition party likened the wiretapping of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the Uludere tragedy, in which 34 civilians mistaken for terrorists were killed, and accused the ruling party of practicing a double standard with regard to unlawful eavesdropping.
“In democratic countries, the political power should decidedly address and resolve these kinds of problems. They have to find the perpetrators and bring them to the justice. Did this happen? No. If the political power does not address the issue – which does not target itself – that is, if it applies a double standard, then it cannot obtain results,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told Ankara media bureau chiefs on Dec. 26. “The incident took place a year ago and if the perpetrators cannot be found yet, then we have to find those responsible for it. Then this is another Uludere incident,” he said, referring to failed attempts since early 2012 to ascertain who gave the order of the attack against the civilians.
“What we have observed with this unlawful eavesdropping is the double standard the government is practicing. It feels disturbed when the prime minister is wiretapped but gloats when others are monitored. This is not right. At the end of the day, Mr. Prime Minister, whatever goes around comes around,” he said.
Stressing that Erdoğan’s political rivals have been frequent victims of wiretapping and many politicians’ privacy have been violated through video recordings in the past, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the government for not addressing the issue and locating the perpetrators of these crimes. “This is a crime that we should all react against together. The victim can be the prime minister or a citizen. But we should denounce it altogether,” he said.
Yet there is a graver situation with regard to wiretapping in the country, according to Kılıçdaroğlu. “There are some acts that turn illegal wiretapping into a legal one. You will ask how it is possible. If some officials apply to the court to legally wiretap journalists but submit fake names to do so, this is a graver crime. I wonder what the prime minister’s reaction to that was.”
Describing attempts to eavesdrop on Erdoğan as a serious and grave issue, the main opposition leader asked the prime minister to inform the people about the perpetrators of this crime and further explain his claim that he might have been wiretapped by the deep state. “I think the prime minister should first answer the question regarding what the deep state is. Which ‘deep state’ wiretapped Erdoğan? The legal one or the illegal one?”
Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım is one of the people responsible for the wiretapping of Erdoğan, he maintained, recalling the minister’s advise that people not talk on the phone if they believe they are being eavesdropped on. “If you are disdainful of such an important issue, then it ends up with the wiretapping of the prime minister.”
Support to ODTÜ
Regarding ongoing attempts to isolate Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), whose students protested Erdoğan last week, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized both the government members and rectors of other universities that issued statements criticizing ODTÜ and its students. “We are, of course, against violence. There should be no violence. But we are equally against an understanding that regards the students’ right to protest, to open placards and to shout slogans, as violence. We also do not approve of other universities’ attempts to see the incident through the eyes and discourse of the prime minister. These are not the real views of these universities but of the rectors appointed by the [ruling] Justice and Development Party (AKP),” he said.
Noting that Erdoğan was escorted by nearly 3,500 policemen at ODTÜ, he asked “Are you going to a university or to an enemy country?”
‘Erdoğan won’t be able to be the president’
Reaffirming his statement that he would vote for President Abdullah Gül if the presidential race of 2014 would be between Gül and Erdoğan, Kılıçdaroğlu said he believed Turkey would elect someone eligible to this post who will not be Erdoğan. “The people will surely not elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as president. Can someone polarizing Turkey that much be the president? Can someone who enjoys the tension be the president? I trust in my people,” he said.
One of the things Kılıçdaroğlu regretted was the political manner and exchange of bad words between politicians. Recalling his polemic language, “the polar bear and ill-fated Bedouin,” with the prime minister, Kılıçdaroğlu said “This shouldn’t have happened. We should be able to maintain quality while carrying out political affairs. But I can’t say that Turkish politics passed this test.”
AKP’s votes decrease
Despite public opinion polls indicating that the AKP is still enjoying the support of half of the people in Turkey, the CHP leader said their own investigations indicate a decrease in the ruling party’s votes. “Let me underline another reality. We are not competing with the AKP as a party but the AKP state. We are struggling against a single-party state. This is not a usual thing in democracies. All sorts of pressures are imposed on the people. Our struggle will continue to this end.”