Do not feel intimidated by referendum: Main opposition leader
ANKARAThe upcoming referendum will be a chance to display a stance against the oppression of naysayers, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, noting that the “no” voters should never feel intimidated.
“On the contrary, there should be resistance against oppression, and the ballot should be the place for this. A lesson should be given to those who are oppressing voices at the polls,” Kılıçdaroğlu told Doğan News Agency on Feb. 23.
He criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for stirring further polarization in the society by smearing the naysayers.
“If you want the citizens of a country to be hostile to each other and compete against each other, you would need to use that kind of language. And they did that. But it has backfired. We will go and vote to prove them wrong,” he said.
“If you label everyone who will be voting ‘no’ as terrorists, then what kind of an embracing language are you using? How would you govern the country,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in reference to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, who had earlier said that his party aimed at “embracing all people.”
“I do not consider all naysayers as terrorists. But it is a fact that the CHP is saying ‘no,’ just like the terrorist PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party] and FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization],” Yıldırım said Feb. 22.
Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP considered all the people of the country, regardless of their votes in the referendum, as “their own citizens.”
“All the citizens who vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are my own citizens and they are both more than welcome,” he added.
CHP campaign will be ‘humble and simple’
CHP deputy leader Tekin Bingöl, who is also responsible for organizing party activities, said the CHP did not consider organizing a large-scale hall meeting for the promotion of the referendum campaign, and will not stage many rallies in the process.
“Everyone is expecting something spectacular, like the AKP’s meeting on Feb. 25, but we have started the work days before,” Bingöl told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Feb. 23, adding that the CHP will prioritize to meet with citizens.
“Since we will not be using the CHP’s name and emblem, we believe it is not right to organize party rallies. We are carrying out this campaign with an understanding that is beyond the CHP,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who had previously met with provincial and district governors, and deputies as part of the referendum campaign, will meet with party members over the weekend.