AKP rebukes CHP head for comments ‘attacking’ family minister

AKP rebukes CHP head for comments ‘attacking’ family minister

AKP rebukes CHP head for comments ‘attacking’ family minister

DHA photo

Comments by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu about Family Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu have drawn a sharp rebuke from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described Kılıçdaroğlu as a “political pervert” on April 6.

“What will we do to these political perverts?” Erdoğan asked, referring to the main opposition leader, during a speech to village and neighborhood heads in Ankara, adding that Kılıçdaroğlu had “attacked” Ramazanoğlu with words which he “can’t repeat.” 

Commenting on recent sexual abuse cases in private education institutes, Kılıçdaroğlu stirred an angry reaction on April 5. “The governor and the education minister don’t talk [about the cases]. The family minister is already in the position of lying in front of someone else, so she doesn’t talk either,” he said. 

“These statements [Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments on Ramazanoğlu] were censored in the news bulletin last night on TV. He used very ugly expressions about the minister. The pervert that the main opposition party is trying to conduct politics over is in jail and paying the price for what he did,” said Erdoğan.

Parliament decided on March 24 to establish an inquiry commission to conduct an in-depth probe into the alleged sexual abuse of children, after news reports that eight male students had been raped by their teacher at an Ensar Foundation branch in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman. A public prosecutor demanded 600 years in prison for the suspected teacher. 

Saying that the main opposition head had raised the “level of immorality,” Erdoğan added that every word about Kılıçdaroğlu is “unnecessary, like Kılıçdaroğlu himself.”

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also slammed Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments, saying the female members of the CHP should also react against their party’s leader. Stating that he had unfollowed Kılıçdaroğlu on Twitter, Davutoğlu added that Kılıçdaroğlu showed that he was “inhuman” by making these comments. 

“Kılıçdaroğlu has made two big mistakes. The first one is that he used words about the minister that wouldn’t suit anybody, let alone the head of the main opposition party. The second mistake is that he defended these statements,” Davutoğlu told journalists at Esenboğa Airport in Ankara, before leaving for a visit to Finland.

“If he apologized, he wouldn’t make up for his mistake, but would show that he has a mind capable of realizing his mistake. With the first mistake he was rude; with the second one he was foolish,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu had defended himself on April 5.  “The phrase I used is a phrase that was first introduyced to the Turkish political scene by an AKP minister. The phrase doesn’t belong to me. It was first said about Reza Zarrab. It is not a phrase I created,” he said. 

Kılıçdaroğlu was referring to a remark in an illegal recording of a minister allegedly speaking about protecting Zarrab, the Iranian-Turkish businessman who was involved in a graft case in December 2013 before it was dropped. Zarrab was arrested last month in the U.S. on allegations of fraud and breaking the Washington embargo on Tehran. 

“It’s a gaffe to separate the sentence for women and men. It’s wrong to look at a minister as a woman or a man. A minister is a minister. The gender of the [person] sitting in that chair is not significant,” Kılıçdaroğlu also said.

Minister Ramazanoğlu also criticized Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments in a written statement, saying the CHP head’s “wrong and immoral” statements targeted not only her but women in general. 

“I believe these unfortunate statements have bothered all female members of the CHP and also Kılıçdaroğlu’s wife. I leave Kılıçdaroğlu’s insults, which leave a black mark on Turkish political history, to the people’s conscience and announce that I will start all legal procedures,” Ramazanoğlu’s statement read.

Other cabinet ministers and AKP lawmakers have also harshly criticized Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks.