CHP and Kılıçdaroğlu should make a decision

CHP and Kılıçdaroğlu should make a decision

Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir deputy Birgül Ayman Güler has not only made a statement involving hate speech and racism, but moreover committed a crime when she said “You cannot make me regard the Turkish nation as equal, as equivalent to Kurdish ethnicity… From now on, we are on the defense; from now on, we are on the attack for the right to self-defense.” She also wanted to bring the CHP and its leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in line, both of whom adopted a positive stance during the course of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) laying down arms.

Serious criticism, with which I also agree, has been directed to the hate speech and racist content of Ayman Güler’s statement. Her defense based on “being scientific” was sad, first and foremost for science and academia. Science was being used to support a racist position. What a pity.

However, we have not talked about the CHP dimension of Ayman Güler’s proclamations, which I think was a calculated and conscious one.

If one of Ayman Güler’s targets was the “İmralı process,” her other target was the CHP and its leader Kılıçdaroğlu.

Let me highlight it from the beginning: In approaching Ayman Güler’s racist move, it would be incorrect to say “There is no hope left for this CHP.”

There are many deputies, members within the CHP, who want change, who intermingle with society, who solve problems at personal risk, who are hardworking and who struggle for human, environmental and animal rights.

Within the CHP, for example, there are such names as Şafak Pavey, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Gülseren Onanç and Rıza Türmen. There are those who go to Uludere, who go to Afyon, who stand up to the oppressions against women, laborers and students. There are good-willed and hardworking young people trying to make the CHP better.

To say there is no hope for the CHP is taking no notice of these people and their efforts. Effort and labor are values that should be respected. No doubt, this respect should come first of all from inside the CHP.

Unfortunately, not only was there no gratitude or respect from inside the CHP for these efforts, some of these names have been subjected to very serious attacks and disrespectful acts within the CHP during the party’s parliamentary meetings.

The proclamation of Arman Güler is an initiative to bring this change into line, to block it. It is an initiative to bring into line the leadership of Kılıçdaroğlu, an attempt to discipline him.

What kind of CHP?
For this reason, today is not the day to say there is no hope for the CHP; however, the CHP and Kılıçdaroğlu should now make a decision.

What kind of a CHP is the party today? Is it a CHP voiced by Ayman Güler, Süheyl Batum and those who are not actual CHP members but were imported to the CHP, who call themselves “ultra nationalists,” who are full of reaction, racism and “otherizing,” who have no respect for other identities, who regard themselves superior to the people, who regard the state before society, identities and individuals, who are missionaries, who are ideological, who have nothing to do with the 1921-1926 foundation period and Atatürk, who do not hold center-left values, maybe those who resemble the CHP of Recep Peker, an “ultra nationalist CHP”?

On the other hand, is it a CHP that is inclusive, that works to solve the problems of society, those who are oppressed no matter what identity they hold, those who have been treated unjustly, for human, environmental and animal rights, that has access to the street instead of the state; that voices the principles of justice, equality and conscience, that holds center-left values, that correctly interprets the change in the world and in Turkey, an active CHP that can be an alternative to the Justice and Development Party (Ak Party)?

Both of them cannot be in the same party. A party that contains both of them cannot be successful.

Today, this decision should be made by the CHP and Kılıçdaroğlu.

Unless it makes this decision, we can see that the Ak Party will become even stronger as the CHP boils down to a party drifting into leadership fights once again.

Now, Kılıçdaroğlu should make a decision and the identity of CHP should become clear.

Fuat Keyman is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on Jan. 30. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.