Accusing PM of ‘power vacuum’ upon Ankara massacre, CHP-HDP leaders insist on dialogue

Accusing PM of ‘power vacuum’ upon Ankara massacre, CHP-HDP leaders insist on dialogue

Accusing PM of ‘power vacuum’ upon Ankara massacre, CHP-HDP leaders insist on dialogue

AFP photo

The heads of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have both continued their criticism of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu following the deadly Oct. 10 Ankara suicide bombings, saying Turkey is currently in a dangerous power vacuum.

Speaking separately following a joint meeting on Oct. 16, both CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş called on people to “not give up hope,” underlining the urgent need for “dialogue channels in politics” to secure healthy conduct amid the ongoing turmoil.

“Mr. Davutoğlu is a person who has been overwhelmed with the intensity and heaviness of the incidents. His recent statements are particularly full of contradictions. I’m following these statements with concern,” Kılıçdaroğlu, told reporters after his meeting with Demirtaş and fellow HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ at parliament.

His remarks came after being reminded of Davutoğlu’s remarks about the “difficulty” of tracking suicide bombers trained in and originating from Syria, where fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are based. 

“They came from Syria. So how did they come from Syria to Ankara? Is something like this possible? It is like the incident took place on the Syria border, or inside Syrian territory. No, the incident took place in Ankara. It took place 500 meters away from the Ankara Police Department. There is a serious power vacuum in Turkey. Society’s conscience is troubled by this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

The grassroots of the HDP had a major presence at the peace rally where at least 99 people were killed, while the CHP also lost party members and local executives in the attack. 

Shortly after Kılıçdaroğlu, Demirtaş also spoke to reporters. After being reminded of Davutoğlu’s recent statement that he would agree to meet Demirtaş only if he publicly acknowledges making a mistake by blaming state forces for the attack, the HDP co-chair said it was actually the prime minister who should apologize.

“I’ve said there is a government vacuum. Turkey is in a transition period. It is being governed by such an ‘interim’ prime minister that he is not even aware he needs to offer an apology. He’s still waiting for an apology from us, but he should offer an apology to society. A person who should say ‘My people, we couldn’t protect you, I apologize,’ is waiting for apology from us. May God give him wisdom,” Demirtaş said.

The meeting at parliament took place after Kılıçdaroğlu requested appointments from the leaders of all political parties represented at parliament immediately following the Oct. 10 attack. Kılıçdaroğlu met with Davutoğlu on the day when the attack took place, but Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli refused to grant an appointment, citing “inconvenient timing.”

The meeting between Kılıçdaroğlu and Demirtaş was delayed due to their hectic agenda, as the latter attended the funerals of various victims of the bomb attack and paid condolence visits to their families over the week.

“Political polarization has brought Turkey here. Concern is not a concept for politicians anymore, but the entire world has begun feeling concerned about Turkey. Of course, the views of political parties differ, but in the end we are all struggling for the interests of citizens. We favor a united society, not a polarized one. That’s why this visit was so important,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Demirtaş echoed the CHP leader, saying the absence of dialogue in politics was leading to profound social tension. 

“This meeting is important for decreasing tension. I hope all politicians will display a courageous stance with regard to keeping dialogue channels open … Despite this great pain, there is no need to be hopeless. We should create hope, despite everything,” he said.