Erdoğan: CHP leader ran away on coup night
AA photoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of “running away” during Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup attempt, instead of lending him sufficient support.
“There were young people who did not bow to the F-16 [fighter jets],” Erdoğan said at a “youth event” in Istanbul on March 27, referring to people who resisted the coup soldiers on the night of July 15, 2016.
“There were young people who did not bow to tanks. There were young people who did not bow to bullets fired from helicopters. But where were you, Kılıçdaroğlu? You were on the run at Atatürk Airport. We could have met you there but you weren’t around,” he added.
In his first appearance after the start of the bloody uprising on the night of the coup attempt, Erdoğan called on citizens to resist coup plotters in a live video interview with private broadcaster CNNTürk before flying to Istanbul from the Aegean resort town of Marmaris. The hotel where he had been staying was also targeted by junta members.
On arrival in Istanbul, Erdoğan addressed a large crowd at Atatürk International Airport, declaring that the coup attempt was almost foiled.
Kılıçdaoğlu attended a meeting with Erdoğan 10 days after the attempt, which claimed around 250 lives. He was also present at a giant public demonstration against the coup attempt in Istanbul on Aug. 7.
Speaking on March 27, Erdoğan also accused the CHP leader of “not having confidence in the youth.”
His words came in relation to the debate on constitutional changes shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system, which will be voted on in a referendum on April 16. One of the amendments suggests dropping the minimum age of candidacy to parliament to 18 from the current 25, a move that the CHP strongly opposes.
“You say you are the party of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” Erdoğan said, adding that the founding father had “commended the republic to the youth.”
“We have secured the sustainability of the country for the past 14 years despite this main opposition. We all know what we have been through during these 14 years,” he said, referring to the 14-year rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Erdoğan accused the CHP of being behind “junta meetings” against the AKP in its first years in power and holding “republican rallies” aiming to overthrow the government in 2007.
“They have always been a supporter of division,” Erdoğan said.
“Didn’t they have our girls wait at the gates of universities,” he said, referring to a former ban on headscarves in the academy.
“Those who are against the presidential system are those who had made our girls wait at the gates of universities in the past,” Erdoğan said, adding that he is the father of two girls who suffered from the ban.
“They [the CHP] did not have such a problem, but we did,” he stated.