Former CHP leader justifies Turkey’s shelling of PYD, draws praise from PM

Former CHP leader justifies Turkey’s shelling of PYD, draws praise from PM

Former CHP leader justifies Turkey’s shelling of PYD, draws praise from PM

DHA photo

The former leader of Turkey’s main opposition party has lent support to the government’s shelling of Kurdish and Syrian positions in northern Syria, while underlining the “Sunni” identity of the rebel stronghold of Aleppo and arguing that the city should not be handed over to “Shiite/Nusayri” forces.

Deniz Baykal, the previous leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), also argued that his party needed to make its stance against “terror” clearer, stating that his successor, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, was also aware that “the party needs a fundamental change.”

“Turkey has the right to bomb in order to keep the Azez-Aleppo line open,” Baykal said in a live interview with CNN Türk late on Feb. 15, suggesting that the bombing had so far been effective, while also drawing praise from the government.

“Unfortunately, as long as the Azez-Aleppo line is not kept open, we will be sending an open invitation to this refugee influx,” Baykal said, justifying Turkey’s move as “a legitimate right in the face of the possibility of new migration waves.”

The dispute is no long limited to Azez, he said.

“It is seen that a move from the south to Aleppo is being planned. Aleppo is a Sunni city; it is historically so. It is a city where Islamic civilization has put its stamp everywhere. There is a need to very seriously question a policy which is aimed at handing over this city to [Bashar] al-Assad forces, to Shiite, Nusayri [Alawite] forces under the auspices of Russia,” Baykal said.

Baykal said the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) was pursuing its own goals of “uniting cantons to the south of Turkey, near Syria’s border” and “to this aim, it is enforcing migration in non-Kurdish, Arab villages, changing the demographic structure” under the pretext of fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

But Baykal also said the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) policies had played a “negative role” in the state of affairs in Syria. “One wishes a Sunni Islam that we are used to had emerged there instead of ISIL. The Sunni field has also ‘Isilized;’ this is a supremely fatal development.”

Nonetheless, Baykal’s statements justifying the government’s moves prompted swift praise and appreciation from Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

“Mr. Baykal has spoken with a seriousness befitting a statesman by interpreting developments on our border from the perspective of Turkey’s national security. I thank him. Mr. Baykal has openly stated that measures taken by Turkey are legitimate and necessary. As for Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, he was not able to assume a serious and consistent stance in the face of this situation, which threatens our national security, as he acted with cunningness and verbiage in a bid to gain the upper hand,” Davutoğlu told AKP lawmakers on Feb. 16.

‘CHP getting closer to HDP line’

The CHP should no longer serve as a “pendulum” between the AKP and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Baykal added.

Voicing unease over the absence of a clear stance against “violence and terror” by his party, Baykal said: “Some fellows from our party have taken initiatives which approached the HDP line on this issue. For example, now there is a fight against terror and violence in the Southeast.”

The AKP government as well as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuses the HDP of acting as a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We cannot overlook terror being settled there, we cannot take it as natural,” he said.

“It is obvious that there is need for a fundamental change. We need the CHP to represent itself in the strongest way and renew and strengthen itself in the face of threats and dangers against Turkey as soon as possible,” he said, adding that Kılıçdaroğlu was also aware of this need.

Although Baykal did not call on Kılıçdaroğlu to resign, the former leader said the CHP should not spend the next 3.5 years until the next elections in its current shape.

Kılıçdaroğlu was elected CHP leader in 2010 to replace Baykal, following the release of a video recording showing the latter in a compromising situation with a former CHP deputy.