ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey would become more powerful if PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan were set free, says BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. DAILY NEWS photo
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
has said he is against the shedding of Turkish soldiers’ blood in Arabian deserts, while harshly criticizing the government’s foreign policy by calling Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
“We don’t want war. We don’t want our sons’ blood to be shed in Arabian deserts. [...] We have marked a historic event by saying ‘no’ to the motion [authorizing the military for cross-border operations]. The CHP
has become the hope of all mothers and fathers. We will not disappoint them,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at his party’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday.
Kılıçdaroğlu said that Turkey has been left alone regarding Syria, claiming that only Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Hamas supports Turkey while Iran, Russia, China, Brazil
oppose Turkey’s foreign policy on Syria.
“How can we describe the policy that put Turkey into this situation? Is this ‘strategic depth,’ or strategic blindness? The process that resulted in Turkey’s becoming part of such a meaningless balance comes from a foreign minister whose incompetence is known by the entire world. You don’t need deep knowledge to know that. You have to be a real idiot to do that,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
strongly refuted yesterday Kılıçdaroğlu’s argument that the government was approaching the Syrian crisis “within a sectarian framework.”
“I want to remind this to Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu: the issue of sect has never been influential in outlining Turkish foreign policy. Most of those who fell from power along the period dubbed ‘Arab Spring’ are Sunni,” Erdoğan said.
“We haven’t supported oppressors and dictators because they are Sunni. Both a dictator and an oppressor may come out of a Sunni. Wherever they come from, we are against all of them,” Erdoğan added.
The prime minister was responding to Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks during an interview with CNNTürk late on Oct. 8 when he accused Davutoğlu of favoring Sunnis in Syria’s crisis in relation to his recent suggestion that Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara would be an acceptable official to replace President Bashar al-Assad.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, for his part, argued that the Turkish government’s main unease concerning Syria stems from the formation of an autonomous Kurdish region there.
Recalling that Oct. 9 is the 14th anniversary of the expulsion of Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK), from Syria, Demirtaş said: “The Chief of the General Staff had appeared in Hatay 14 years ago as it happened yesterday. Turkey surrendered to international powers in exchange for Öcalan’s expulsion. Turkey has been the losing party. Kurdish identity was denied in Syria 14 years ago, but today there’s a Kurdish region. Who has won and who has lost?”
“Turkey would become more powerful both inside and within its region if Öcalan were set free. That’s why Öcalan should be freed,” Demirtaş added.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also criticized the government’s foreign policy, claiming that the “zero problems with neighbors" policy had led to “zero peace, zero friends and zero interests.”