CHP leader slams PM: ‘You are no pious man’

CHP leader slams PM: ‘You are no pious man’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP leader slams PM: ‘You are no pious man’

Leyla Yalçınkaya (R) and her aunt (M), who were fined by the court for protesting a dam project in their village, sit next to CHP Deputy Chair Emine Ülker Tarhan. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu yesterday leveled harsh accusations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for exploiting people’s religious feelings, as he attacked the government for covering up a high-profile embezzlement probe into an Islamic charity.

“You are not a pious man but a religion-monger. Before categorizing people as pious and not pious you should first hold to account those who got away with the money that people donated for the poor,” Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday at the parliamentary group meeting of his Republican People’s Party (CHP).

His outburst came in response to Erdoğan’s accusations that the CHP was annoyed by the existence of the imam-hatip religious schools and suggested the main opposition aspired for “a less-religious generation.” Erdoğan made the remarks after two CHP deputies asked the Council of State to scrap a
regulation that put graduates of imam-hatip religious schools on equal par with others at university entrance exams.

Slamming Erdoğan’s comments as “divisive,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, “Was the previous generation unreligious? How do you measure people’s religiousness?” He recalled that imam-hatip schools and divinity faculties were inaugurated under CHP rule.

“There are fault lines in society that must not be set off. This is called separatism and treason. Wherever a sectarian, ethnic or historical fault line exists, the prime minister pops up,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
He renewed criticism of the indictment of three prosecutors who were removed from the embezzlement probe into the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) charity last year on charges of forgery in official documents and abuse of office that carry up to 11 years in jail.

“They first took the prime minister’s friends from the grip of the prosecutors, but that did not suffice. The prosecutors are after the embezzlers, while the ministers are after the prosecutors. This is an open intimidation of the judicial community,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. The CHP has long argued that the probe is being covered up to conceal links between the charity and the ruling party.

Commenting on tensions within the CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu said later in the day that he would soon schedule a second CHP convention to discuss amendments to the party statute as requested by the intra-party opposition. The first convention would be held Feb. 26.

The current statute does not allow for merging the two conventions, he said, hinting that amendments could be made to that effect.