Divisions sharpening in CHP over Kurdish row

Divisions sharpening in CHP over Kurdish row

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Divisions sharpening in CHP over Kurdish row

‘We are in a struggle to let our people live equally, peacefully, freely and as brothers without any discrimination. Nobody should destroy our people’s hopes for the future,’ Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said via Twitter. DHA photo

Turkey’s main opposition is trying to tackle its recent intra-party turmoil following the resignation of a Kurdish deputy, yet the latest crisis could pave the way for a shaky process.

“That this line within the Republican People’s Party (CHP) surfaced that starkly will be beneficial both for the CHP and for Turkey. The issues that the CHP did not debate before became debatable; this is good and healthy for the CHP and for Turkey. Unless the CHP faces these problems, its way will not be cleared,” CHP deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu said on Jan. 26.

Tanrıkulu was responding to a question about CHP İzmir lawmaker Birgül Ayman Güler’s statements about a bill extending the scope of mother tongue defense late Jan. 23. “You cannot make me consider the Turkish nation and Kurdish nationality as equal.”

Fırat resigns over remarks on Kurds
CHP Adıyaman lawmaker Salih Fırat announced his “necessary” resignation from his party on Jan. 24, describing Güler’s statements as one of the reasons behind his decision. Atilla Kart, a CHP member of Parliament’s Constitution Reconciliation Commission, issued a statement on Jan. 26, saying that no ethnic identity is superior to the other and stressing that the CHP advocates equality of all people. “Any discourse of discrimination actually serves the division of Turkey. No CHP member should serve this trap.”

The CHP’s other Constitution Reconciliation Commission member Süheyl Batum lent his support and agreement to Güler. “My esteemed friend Birgül Ayman Güler said ‘the king is naked.’ She said that Kurdish nationalism is not progressive and leftist... But some ill-bred people made efforts to show her comments as ‘Kurds and Turks are not equal.’

But Güler does not think like that. No CHP members discriminate against people based on their ethnic origin,” Batum said. The CHP’s charter panel members already had disagreements over the constitutional definition of citizenship, as Sühely Batum insisted on inclusion of the notion of “Turkishness” in the proposal, while Atilla Kart and Rıza Türmen objected to his stance.

Güler’s words drew a strong reaction from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said “Defending one nation’s superiority over another is a betrayal and disrespectful to the core of these lands.” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ criticized the CHP, saying that “racism within the CHP became stronger.”