CHP leader urges gov’t not to turn post-coup probe into ‘witch hunt’

CHP leader urges gov’t not to turn post-coup probe into ‘witch hunt’

CHP leader urges gov’t not to turn post-coup probe into ‘witch hunt’

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The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has urged the government not to turn the investigation into the recent failed coup attempt into a “witch hunt,” calling on it to respect democratic norms and the rule of law. 

“Any kind of wrongdoing with regard to legal proceedings would only help strengthen the coup mentality. We should carefully avoid this. We want all those who are prosecuted on coup-related charges to be tried in line with democracy and the rule of law. We don’t want a witch hunt,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told private broadcaster NTV in an interview on July 22. 

“We are a strong state with the rule of law. There have been setbacks in democracy from time to time but Turkey’s face has always been turned toward democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

More than 10,000 have been detained related to the thwarted coup attempt, while more than 50,000 civil servants have been dismissed on suspicion of being linked to the movement of shady U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.  

On the ongoing discussion about whether Turkey should reinstate the death penalty for charges of treason, the CHP head called for restraint. 

“The government should avoid the influence of mass psychology. Those who rule the country should keep their common sense. If you start to rule the country based only on calls from the streets than you wouldn’t be able to escape chaos,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

He also recalled the CHP’s long-running opposition and warnings over the privileges given to Gülen sympathizers in key appointments within the judiciary and other state institutions.

“While you were appointing 160 people to the Supreme Court of Appeals, I shouted from the parliamentary rostrum, ‘You’re appointing 160 militants.’ But it was me at that time who received all criticism. Now I’ve been proven right. But that is not enough. We should ask who made all these appointments,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

He also stressed that recent events show the importance of a strict implementation of meritocracy in state appointments, and the abandonment of “ruling the state like a political party.” 

“We can’t resolve problems by dismissing a few people. We first have to change our mentality. We should know that we can’t rule the state like we rule political parties,” the CHP leader said.