CHP, ruling AKP trade barbs in Swoboda crisis

CHP, ruling AKP trade barbs in Swoboda crisis

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP, ruling AKP trade barbs in Swoboda crisis

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) is seen in Brussels with Hannes Swoboda. AA photo

The ruling party has described Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s comparison of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which led to unease in the EU capital, as a “scandal.” 

“Swoboda reacted against this worthlessness, this shoddiness,” Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Hüseyin Çelik said yesterday at a press conference, referring to Hannes Swoboda, the leader of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament, who cancelled a meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu following the comparison. Çelik criticized the style of the CHP’s political language. “The CHP crosses the line of politeness,” he said.

On the other hand, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ “advised” the CHP to take a decision “to ban Kılıçdaroğlu from conducting politics abroad, and even out of the CHP’s group meetings, in order not to bring shame on both the CHP and Turkey.”

According to Bozdağ, only CHP members applaud Kılıçdaroğlu. “[They] cannot see realties as [they are] in an ideological blindness,” he said. “Swoboda has given the CHP a lesson on how a democratic party should be,” he added. A meeting between the president of the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament with Kılıçdaroğlu on May 15 was canceled after the latter compared Erdoğan with al-Assad.

Erdoğan to sue Kılıçdaroğlu

Meanwhile, Erdoğan said he was preparing to sue the CHP leader for likening him to al-Assad. "I will never allow [someone] to call the Turkish prime minister a killer. The only institution that can correct this is the court. Because of my background, I would know very well how to answer him with the same language, but I don't want to sink to such a low level," Erdoğan told reporters in Washington. "I referred the issue to my attorneys. [Kılıçdaroğlu] will give account to the judiciary."

Haluk Koç, deputy chairman of the CHP, said his party would not follow the line of either Swoboda or “other Swobodas.” “The CHP will continue its struggle for democracy and freedom while protecting its principles,” Koç said. 

The issue was not about the CHP, but about how Swoboda perceived Turkey’s interests, he added. Swoboda’s group did not want to see the CHP’s differences in interpreting “social democracy,” Koç said, adding that the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats wanted to impose “their own clothes” on the CHP. However, the CHP practices “a social democracy unique to this land,” said Koç. “They expect us to remain silent to imperialist projects being carried out in this region … They want us to be a party like the AKP, and they expect us to behave like the AKP. They want their interests to be our interests.”

AKP Deputy Chairman Mehmet Ali Şahin stressed that the CHP’s vote-share had declined to 20 percent due to his “zig-zagging” on unstable policies.

A number of leading executives of the CHP, including the deputy chair of the party, Umut Oran, have suggested the idea of complaining to the Socialist International (SI) about Swoboda.