‘Yes’ vote will politicize army, courts and mosques: Main opposition CHP
ANKARAA “yes” vote in the upcoming referendum on constitutional changes will result in the politicization of the military, judiciary and religious institutions, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said.
“I have issued warnings not to politicize the army, courts and mosques. If you do that, you will foment separation in Turkey, you will divide it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said during a campaign stop on April 10 in the northwestern province of Kocaeli.
“The mosques welcome people from all point of views; the army is made up of the children of all of us; the courts seek justice for all of us. If the judge can ask, ‘Which party are you from?’ there will not be any justice there. Now, they are doing just the opposite, they are politicizing the army, courts and the mosques,” he said.
Turks will go to a referendum on April 16 to decide on constitutional changes that will usher in vastly enhanced powers for the president.
“We are giving the leader of a political party the authority to appoint almost all positions in the state. The president will be allowed to appoint the chief of General Staff, governors, the heads of the Religious Affairs Directorate and top judges,” he said.
Criticizing the constitutional amendments, Kılıçdaroğlu said the new system would lack the system of checks and balances that Turkish democracy currently has.
“The concepts of rights, law and justice are very important for our culture and for our belief, as well as for history,” he said.
“They want to build such a state that is a law of elites. They will not give an account for anything. None of the ministers will be representatives; they will not be lawmakers in this one-man regime. None of the vice presidents will be representatives. But they will all have the immunity of representatives. In addition, their impunity will not be restricted by the duration of their posts. They will be immune for life,” he said.
“What does it mean? It means that you cannot even ask for an account from those who were unfair to the rightful share [of people],” he said, using the Islamic term of “rightful share” which can be interpreted as an unfair or mean act against the spiritual or material rights of a person.
“There will not even be any parliamentary questions about a minister, nor can a question be asked from parliament. Is that a democracy, is that justice, is that right? What is this?” he said.
Noting that his calls for a televised debate with opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leaders had been fruitless, Kılıçdaroğlu said the “yes” campaign did not have well-rooted arguments to defend the constitutional amendment.
“They are saying that Kılıçdaroğlu is lying, using their own terms. But they are not saying precisely what it is that I am wrong on. They are conducting rallies but the topic of the rally is not the constitutional amendments, it is Kılıçdaroğlu himself. I had a look at the 18-article amendment, I haven’t seen any article on Kılıçdaroğlu,” he said.
“They are using the state’s money, state’s planes, cars and authorities, but the only target they have is Kılıçdaroğlu. I do not use those planes, money or state resources, I am just speaking the truth,” he said, criticizing the “yes” campaign for using the state resources to promote the constitutional change.