CHP ‘expects’ rules of engagement to be implemented for airspace violations
DHA PhotoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said it expected Turkey would implement its declared rules of engagement in the event of an airspace violation, in response to a Russian warplane which reportedly entered Turkish airspace on Jan. 29, rekindling tension between Ankara and Moscow.
“Turkey had set its new rules of engagement about Syria and declared them to the world. Thus, our rules of engagement are clear. We do not find the violation of our airspace by another country’s warplane to be right. Our expectation is the implementation of these rules of engagement if they are not respected,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the CHP, said at a meeting in Germany on Jan. 31.
Turkey said a Russian warplane violated Turkish airspace on Jan. 29, despite repeated warnings to the Russian pilot in both Russian and English. Turkey protested the violation as Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry. The Russian Defense Ministry however denied the airspace violation. Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane in November last year severed bilateral relations, as Moscow launched a series of sanctions against Turkey and its companies.
Parliamentary system ‘set by history’
On domestic political issues, Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated his party’s position on the need to stay on the side of history, supporting the country’s parliamentary system in opposition to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s efforts to amend it with a presidential one. “Our view is very clear: The regime of a country is set by its history. We have around 200 years of experience in the parliamentary system,” he said.
Deficiencies in the existing parliamentary system could be fixed by the commission which is set to begin work this week on renewing the constitution, Kılıçdaroğlu stressed. “All laws that were passed during the Sept. 12, 1980, coup should be amended from the perspective of a first-class democracy,” he said.
Some constitutional articles, such as the ones stipulating safeguards for free media, are not functioning, Kılıçdaroğlu said. “The current charter says ‘the press is free and cannot be censored.’ What will you write in the new charter? The same. Well, is the press free today? No. They are imprisoned because of what they report,” he said.
This shows that this particular article of the current constitution has been suspended by residual laws from the previous coups, Kılıçdaroğlu said. “If you want to bring first-class democracy to Turkey, let’s remove all these laws remaining from the coup eras. Let’s introduce whatever Germany, Japan, the United States, France or the United Kingdom enjoys in regards to democracy, human rights and freedoms to our own country. Then the parliamentary system will function automatically,” he said.
“We are not complaining about the parliamentary system, but about all laws that hinder it,” he added.
President should obey laws
The CHP leader continued his criticisms against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for violating his constitutional boundaries by intervening into politics. “Being elected either by parliament or directly by the people does not give the president the right to violate the constitution. The president should perform his duties within constitutional boundaries regardless of whom he is elected by. You cannot do whatever you like because you were elected by the people. The American president is elected by the people, too. Can he do whatever he wants to do?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked.
Referring to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s statement that “even talking about an early election is treason,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, “I do not know why he said this. But Turkey has a lot of problems, from education to the economy, from foreign policy to societal conciliation. What will an election solve while there are so many issues to deal with?”