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POLITICS > Syria debate stirs race of patriotism in Turkey

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

With many questions unresolved over the downed jet, Prime Minister Erdoğan and the main opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu begin a war of words

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Demonstrators hold opposition flags during a protest against Syrian President al-Assad at Kfr Suseh area in Damascus.

Demonstrators hold opposition flags during a protest against Syrian President al-Assad at Kfr Suseh area in Damascus.

The prime minister and the main opposition party leader appeared to be at swords’ points yesterday regarding the ongoing tension over the interpretation of facts surrounding the June 22 downing of a Turkish jet by Syria.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu blamed each other for not pursuing Turkey’s national interests and instead giving service to other countries or circles.

The first criticism yesterday was fired by Erdoğan at an expanded meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial chamber chairs.

“Do you know that Bashar al-Assad feels no inclination or need to voice an explanation regarding our fallen jet? Nevertheless, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has plenty to say about this issue instead of al-Assad. This is the situation. Today, the CHP, under the leadership of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, has publicly assumed advocacy of the Baath Party in Turkey. Even in the most critical of times they do a wonderful partnership job,” Erdoğan said.

Harsh response from Kılıçdaroğlu

“The attitude of the chairman of the CHP regarding our fallen jet is in fact one that aggrieves the memory of our martyrs there. The attitude of the chairman of the CHP is an anti-national one. The attitude of the chairman of the CHP is one that encourages Turkey’s enemies and those who hope to invade Turkey.

I believe that my people, especially those who have laid their trust in the CHP, will regard this attitude in the most sensible manner,” the prime minister said.

Kılıçdaroğlu responded harshly later in the day when told by reporters of Erdoğan’s remarks.
“The CHP advocates Turkey’s interests in international platforms. Those who portray our policy as being against Turkey’s national interests are the sub-contractors of Western hegemonic powers. They [the government] are pursuing policies against national interests by sub-contracting,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“If they were confident, Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu would call on the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom to reveal all of the information they have [about the downing of the Turkish jet]. If they did this, I would acknowledge that they were pursuing a policy in favor of national interests,” he said.

Last week, while citing contradictions between the Syrian and Turkish governments’ claims over the downing of the Turkish jet, Kılıçdaroğlu called on the government to press on the U.S., the U.K. and Russia to reveal all information they had about the incident.

July/12/2012

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