Erdoğan says Turkey's main opposition leader 'politicizes' murder of Özgecan
AA PhotoThe brutal killing of 20-year-old university student Özgecan Aslan has nothing to do with socio-economic conditions or unemployment, unlike the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party has suggested, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, accusing the opposition of “politicizing the incident.”
“An atrocity has been committed in Mersin, wounding everybody’s feelings. But the leader of the opposition is linking the incident to unemployment in the name of doing politics. The perpetrator is a villain; this has nothing to do with his faith, ethnic roots, or social status. The man is a villain,” Erdoğan said in his long address to local leaders on Feb. 17.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Feb. 15 that poor socio-economic conditions were one of main causes of violence against women and the deteriorating social order, accusing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) over the last 12 years of precipitating a “social collapse.”
However, Erdoğan refuted Kılıçdaroğlu’s linking of the incident with unemployment in Turkey, saying the perpetrator of the killing was not unemployed but in fact a minibus driver.
“This man is playing politics even on such an issue. And his lawmakers are dancing, nearly celebrating. Can something like this happen? And their media is defending them: They were supposedly marking the [fight against] sexual harassment against women!” he said.
Erdoğan was referring to CHP Ankara deputy Aylin Nazlıaka, who took part in a women’s organization event to raise awareness of violence against women, rape and sexual harassment by singing songs and dancing in Ankara streets on Feb. 14. Nazlıaka made clear on Feb. 16 that the event was in no way related to the commemorations or protests to mark the killing of Özgecan Aslan.
The president also directed choice words at feminist groups, criticizing them as having “nothing to do with our religion and civilization.”
“You know these feminists. They say, ‘How can women be entrusted to men? This is an insult.’ Well, you have nothing to do with our religion and civilization. We are looking at the words of our prophet. He says ‘Women are entrusted by God. Respect and do not harm them,’” he said.
Erdoğan to meet justice minister
Erdoğan repeated that he will personally follow the trial process of three perpetrators of Özgecan Aslan’s murder, saying they must be given the heaviest penalties and adding that he would meet with Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ to this end. The meeting was scheduled to take place late on Feb. 17, after the Hürriyet Daily News went to print.
In the aftermath of the murder, Family and Social Policies Minister Ayşenur İslam said the most effective way to protect victims of violence was the “electronic wristband” system, in which the victim and the perpetrator were both tracked.
“We cooperated with the Interior and the Justice Ministries for the implementation of the [electronic wristband] technical watch system in violence cases,” said İslam yesterday. “We will start a pilot scheme [of the system] in Ankara and İzmir in March.”
Appreciation to Özgecan’s parents
President Erdoğan also expressed his gratitude to the “dignified stance” of Özgecan’s parents in the wake of such an atrocity.
“I express my gratitude to her father and to her mother. They have given a lesson not only to our people but also to all humanity,” he said.
‘400 MPs to government’
In his speech, he also touched on the upcoming elections scheduled for June 7, which he said were critical for the future of Turkey and its target of becoming a “strong, great nation” by the year 2023. He repeated his demand that the voters give “400 lawmakers” in the June polls, without directly referring to the ruling AKP.
“These upcoming elections are critically important for Turkey. Elections should result in smoothing the way for the country,” Erdoğan said, again expressing his support for changing to a presidential system of governance and rejecting criticism that he aims to become a “dictator” through the presidential system.
“There are 87 political parties in Turkey and 31 of them will run in the elections. What kind of a dictatorship is this?” he said.