CHP leader backs freed MP over row

CHP leader backs freed MP over row

CHP leader backs freed MP over row

Kılıçdaroğlu shrugs off criticism on a recently freed MP’s peace remarks. AA photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has expressed support for his party’s Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün, who has come under fire for statements he made after being freed by militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) following a 48-hour-abduction.

“His remarks do not reflect the party’s opinion, but there’s nothing wrong in his statements. I’m with our lawmaker. He maintained a humanistic stance,” daily Hürriyet quoted Kılıçdaroğlu as saying Aug. 17. Aygün, for his part, expressed his gratitude for the party chairman’s backing, saying that Kılçdaroğlu’s remarks have shed light on the new CHP’s roadmap. “It has become clear that the CHP will not be on the same side with nationalist and racist mentalities,” Aygün said.

Aygün was kidnapped by two PKK militants on Aug. 12 as he was returning from a visit to Tunceli’s Ovacık district. He was released Aug. 14. Speaking to reporters in Tunceli after his release, Aygün said he had been “treated with respect” by the PKK members. “The organization said they kidnapped me for propaganda reasons,” he said.

Aygün’s remarks raised eyebrows within his party, with CHP Party Assembly member Metin Feyzioğlu criticizing Aygün’s remarks and accusing him of “approaching the terrorist organization with sympathy.” However Kılıçdaroğlu broke his silence on the issue on Aug. 17. Speaking to daily Hürriyet, Kılıçdaroğlu accused some media outlets of creating a storm in a teacup over Aygün’s remarks. “I have come to realize that there is deliberate [subversive] activity against the CHP. [The reasons for] our call for an extraordinary parliamentary session and my speech at the parliamentary group meeting were clear. But they are attempting to draw a picture of a rift within the CHP. The CHP does not have such a problem,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Aygün was to have met with Kılıçdaroğlu on Aug. 17, but the meeting did not take place because Aygün went to Nevşehir to attend ceremonies to commemorate Alevi mystic Hacı Bektaş Veli. Kılıçdaroğlu flew to Istanbul in the afternoon to attend an iftar dinner in Sarıyer. Aygün later announced that he will meet with Kılıçdaroğlu after the Ramadan Bayram, or after Aug. 21. Speaking to the private news channel Habertürk, Aygün said that there is no rift within the party, and a statement from a party assembly member cannot reflect the views of the entire party. “I have not thought of resigning and becoming an independent lawmaker. I’m a lawmaker from the CHP, and I attach importance to the new CHP discourse. If the CHP had not become the new CHP, I would quit my deputyship.” Aygün said.