CHP head accused of int’l smear campaign
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Accusing the head of the main opposition of leading a smear campaign backed by foreigners against Turkey, Erdoğan says his party will strive against black propaganda. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZPrime Minister Erdoğan claimed yesterday that the main opposition leader was at the forefront of “a very ugly and dangerous campaign to smear Turkey,” backed by foreign circles, and vowed further efforts to counter criticism of his government’s commitment to democracy.
Erdoğan argued that the actual intention of Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was to discredit the court case into the purported Ergenekon network, which allegedly sought to foment chaos and pave the way for a military coup.
“We will struggle against this black propaganda. We will tell the whole world over and over again that not journalists and writers but people who plotted a military coup and engaged in terrorist activities are in jail,” Erdoğan told his Justice and Development Party‘s (AKP) parliamentary group.
“We have a situation here that Western intellectuals have never experienced. In the West, journalists do not take part in coup plots, they do not write books to lay the ground for coups,” he added.
The government has been on the offensive amid mounting international criticism over the imprisonment of journalists, which culminated with American author Paul Auster’s refusal to visit Turkey.
“If that writer [Auster] responds to the CHP’s invitation and comes to Turkey, let them go together also to Israel and picnic at a hill overlooking Gaza,” Erdoğan said, as he renewed accusations that Auster was speaking out against Tukey but turning a blind eye to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.
[HH] ‘No social engineering’
In further remarks, Erdoğan brushed aside accusations that his remarks in favor of raising a “pious generation” confirmed that the AKP has a “secret agenda” for Turkey. He called the wave of criticism “stale” and likened it to secularist alarm that preceded the “post-modern coup” in 1997 and the closure case against the AKP in 2008.
“We are against social engineering. We are against the state standardizing and shaping minds. But we are also against fiats on children by parents who want to raise their offspring as atheists,” he said.
He argued that practicing Muslims were oppressed, humiliated and reduced to “second-class citizens” in Turkey in the past. “We are not interested in measuring piety. But how did you measure secularism for decades?” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu yesterday stood behind his description of Erdoğan as “a post-modern dictator” as he continued to take aim at the premier. “Never before a prime minister has been so detached from democratic culture, science and morals,” he said to his party’s parliamentary group.
Kılıçdaroğlu suggested that Erdoğan’s resentment with Auster could have been compounded by the writer’s opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and his praise for Turkey’s secularist founding father Atatürk.
Also targeting the AKP, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said that the ruling party was damaging Turkey’s unity. “Faith peddling, religion-mongering is the product of this process,” he said.