Turkish President attacks both CHP, HDP over religion
DHA PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of “religious indifference,” while also praising Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) for preventing the presence of fundamentalist groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“The person who heads the main opposition party yesterday used a phrase about me while in Kayseri. He is not worth responding to, but all of my citizens from Siirt to Kayseri know their president very well,” Erdoğan said on May 4, delivering a speech in Siirt on the occasion of a collective inauguration of public facilities.
Erdoğan recalled that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu suggested he was “exploiting the Quran like Evren did,” referring to Kenan Evren, the leader of the military coup d’état in 1980 and a former president.
“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, I have grown up with the Quran and I live with the Quran,” the president said, holding a copy of the Quran in his hand and showing it to the crowd.
“What place the Quran has in your life is obvious,” he added, apparently addressing Kılıçdaroğlu.
Erdoğan also had some pointed words for HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
“The political party supported by terror is exploiting my pious Kurdish brothers and sisters. I call on my Kurdish brothers and sisters, whether they have faith or not, to put an end to this game on June 7,” he said, referring to the HDP and the upcoming parliamentary election on June 7.
“He [Demirtaş] comes up and says ‘Taksim [Square in Istanbul] is our Kaaba.’ Our Kaaba is certain. Don’t they [the CHP and the HDP] deserve to take a lesson on June 7?” Erdoğan asked, referring to the sacred stone at the center of Mecca.
“They complain ‘the president is being partial.’ Yes, I am partial, on the side of the nation. Wherever the nation is, I am there. I keep an equal distance from every party but there is of course a party in my heart - that is another issue,” he said.
Over the weekend, yet again on the occasion of a collective inauguration of public facilities, Erdoğan delivered a speech in Batman province. There, he slammed the HDP for promising to abolish Turkey’s top religious body, Diyanet. He stressed Diyanet recently published the Kurdish translation of the Quran, as the crowd shouted Islamic slogans.
In Siirt, he touched upon the significance of the Diyanet again.
“If today, organizations like Boko Haram and Daesh [ISIL] are not making their presence felt in Turkey, the most important credit for this belongs to the Diyanet. If plots such as sectarian conflict are not working in our country, the Diyanet has a big role in this,” Erdoğan said.