CHP leader says he does not insult anybody but seeks answers on Gara killings
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has rebuffed the criticisms from senior government officials and repeated his questions over the last week’s military operation that ended with the killing of 13 Turkish nationals by the PKK.
“What did I do? Did I insult anybody? Did I use strong language? I just wanted answers to my five questions. I want these answers on behalf of 83 million people,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a press conference with Mustafa Destici, the leader of Great Union Party (BBP), who paid a visit to the main opposition headquarters on Feb. 19.
In his weekly address to the CHP group on Feb. 16, Kılıçdaroğlu blamed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan while holding him responsible for the killing of 13 citizens who were held by the PKK in a cave in northern Iraq as well as three troops who were martyred during the operation.
Erdoğan filed a lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu, demanding 500,000 Turkish Liras in compensation. The AKP officials argued that Kılıçdaroğlu was trying to whitewash the PKK by blaming President Erdoğan for the incident.
Kılıçdaroğlu sought to defend his words on Feb. 19 by saying, “There is unsuccessfulness. And it was Erdoğan who said they could not succeed in rescuing them from the PKK. If there is a failure, then there has to be someone responsible for it.”
Speaking on the reactions that the CHP is not naming the PKK in its statements and is referring to a “separatist terrorist organization” instead, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “We are using the same terminology that our Defense Ministry and Chief of General Staff are using on their official websites. We are not here to advertise a terror organization.”
Soylu slams Kılıçdaroğlu
In the meantime, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu continued his criticisms against Kılıçdaroğlu in an address to the district governors on Feb. 19. Recalling that he and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar paid a visit to Kılıçdaroğlu to provide information about the Gara operation, Soylu accused the CHP leader of turning the anti-terror fight into a political matter.
“Blaming our president [for the killing of citizens] is nothing but whitewashing the PKK, removing the burden from it and turning the issue into a matter of political exploitation,” the minister said.