CHP to ‘stand by the oppressed,’ says Kılıçdaroğlu
ANKARAThe Republican People’s Party (CHP) will continue to “stand by all the oppressed” in Turkey, despite growing pressure from the government, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has vowed, refuting accusations that his party supported terrorism.
“Our party assembly got together and issued a declaration. Now I understand they are very uncomfortable with this … We said: ‘No to coups, no to dictatorship, long live democracy.’ They are uncomfortable with that,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Nov. 8 in his weekly address to the CHP parliamentary group.
He was responding to strong criticisms from both Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli, who have slammed the CHP as lending support to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by denouncing the arrest of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers and daily Cumhuriyet journalists.
“We have been attacked by two sides: On one side the PKK and on the other the AKP [Justice and Development Party]. They are collaborating,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, brandishing a photo of HDP lawmakers together with government officials while negotiating a solution to Kurdish question. “I ask now: Who are they?” he added.
The CHP objected to the collapsed peace talks between the PKK and the government unless they were held under the roof of parliament, he added, accusing the government of providing legitimacy to the PKK through the behind-closed-doors talks.
“In 2012, then prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] said ‘I sent the committee [composed of HDP lawmakers and state officials for talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan] to pursue peace talks with PKK.’ They shuffled between İmralı [the prison where Öcalan is kept] and the Kandil [Mountains, known as the PKK’s headquarters in northern Iraq],” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
‘No one can be above the law’
The CHP criticized the arrest of the HDP lawmakers because arresting lawmakers before their conviction are validated is against the constitution, Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that his party also opposed the failure of the HDP lawmakers to follow the prosecutor’s subpoena.
“The ones who have been elected cannot say ‘I’m above the law, I can do whatever I would like.’ They cannot say ‘I won’t go to the prosecutor or judge to give a statement. They should have gone to give their statement, made their defense. Nobody has the privilege to be above judgment,” he added.
“I used a sentence ‘those who come with elections, go with elections. But the media slammed me. What should I have said? ‘Those who come with elections go with a coup’?” the CHP head stated.
Kılıçdaroğlu addressed criticism of his party’s decision to vote for the lifting of parliamentarians’ legal immunity in June, saying the CHP supports lifting the immunity of all deputies, apart from during speeches at parliament. He also stressed that the CHP stands behind its mission to reveal the “political links” of the failed July 15 military coup attempt.