FM following sectarian policy on Syria, CHP head claims
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu revealed the government’s sectarian approach to Syria during a recent closed-door session of Parliament and a televised speech, main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu insisted Oct. 8 despite a correction on the issue from the ministry.
Speaking during an interview with CNNTürk, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu accused the minister of favoring Sunnis in Syria’s crisis in relation to his recent suggestion that Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara would be an acceptable official to replace President Bashar al-Assad.
The ministry immediately prepared a correction in response to Kılıçdaroğlu’s “factual mistakes,” sending it to CNNTürk’s host while the interview was still continuing.
“Although there were a lot of factual mistakes, we need to correct at least one of them. Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, who accused Mr. Minister of having sectarian approaches, referred to Farouq al-Shara and suggested that [al-Shara’s] name was mentioned by Mr. Davutoğlu since he is a Sunni. Mr. Minister didn’t at all imply the sect of Farouq al-Shara or imply that he is a Sunni during the said television program,” the ministry said.
During an interview with state-run media on Oct. 6, Davutoğlu said al-Shara was “a man of reason and conscience and he has not taken part in the massacres in Syria. Nobody knows the [Syrian] system better than he.”
In response to the Foreign Ministry’s correction, Kılıçdaroğlu said he had witnessed the speech Davutoğlu made at the closed session, in reference to the closed-door session on Oct. 4 when Parliament passed a government motion for a one-year mandate authorizing the military to use ground troops for cross-border military operations into Syria in the wake of a Syrian shell that fell on the border town of Akçakale on Oct. 3, killing five civilians. The CHP voted against the motion.
When asked whether Davutoğlu had used the word “Sunni” to describe al-Shara at the closed session, Kılıçdaroğlu said “yes.”
The ministry subsequently sent another message saying the name of al-Shara was not cited during the closed-door session, prompting Kılıçdaroğlu to say, “Not Farouq al-Shara; he got involved in the Sunni-Alevi issue concerning the sectarian debate.”
The CHP leader added that everybody was aware that the government was approaching the Syrian crisis “within a sectarian framework.”
“No matter what the Foreign Ministry says, and no matter what Davutoğlu says, I look at the policy that he has followed,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu, meanwhile, also objected to Diyarbakır police chief Recep Güven’s comments over the weekend in which he said everyone must share in the blame when young people choose to “head to the mountains” to join the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“Although it seems humane at first look, this expression is actually an expression which divides society,” he said.
“What will the families of [fallen soldiers] say about this statement? There is no need at all for police chiefs to make such statements,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, arguing that both the military and the police should resolve the problems instead of complaining about those problems.