Gov’t slams CHP meet on Arab Spring
CHP’s meeting irks the PM because it will unveil the truth, Kılıçdaroğlu says. DAILY NEWS photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan charged yesterday that an upcoming Socialist International (SI) meeting on the Arab uprisings, to be hosted by the main opposition, was organized to advocate the Syrian regime’s bloody crackdown on opponents.
“They will be holding a meeting to defend the brutality in Syria and a regime that has so far killed nearly 10,000 of our brothers. In this way, they claim, they will be looking for a solution for Syria,” Erdoğan said at the parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
In an apparent reference to the Alevi faith that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad share, Erdoğan said: “Don’t forget that a person’s religion is the religion of his friend. Tell me who your friend is and I’ll tell you who you are.”
The CHP will host a meeting of the Socialist International’s (SI) Special Committee on the Arab World on March 23-24 in Istanbul, to discuss social-democratic approaches to the transformation process in the region. Representatives of social-democratic parties from many countries, as well as bloggers from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria are expected to participate.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu retorted that the meeting had annoyed Erdoğan because in it “the truth” about the situation in Syria would be discussed.
“Look at his panic. The meeting has not convened yet but he is already annoyed. He is irked because people will be told the truth about Syria,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at his party’s parliamentary meeting, adding that the meeting would also raise the issue of the two Turkish journalists missing in Syria.
Kılıçdaroğlu warned the government that the creation of a Turkish “buffer zone” inside Syria would amount to “war and occupation.”
Turkey goes ‘global’
In further remarks yesterday, Erdoğan vowed that Turkey would continue to increase its global role as he defended the country’s involvement in Afghanistan, in the face of opposition criticism after a helicopter crash in Kabul that killed 12 soldiers.
“You cannot be a big country if you have small ambitions. We will go everywhere across the world - to take assistance, to take care for our ancestors’ heritage, to expand trade,” he said.
Stressing that Ankara was proud of all its soldiers serving in missions abroad, Erdoğan bluntly rejected charged that Turkey had become a “sub-contractor” of Western powers’ policies in the region and dubbed his critics as “ignorant” and “pathetic.”
The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli, however, stepped up criticism of NATO’s campaign in Afghanistan, arguing that the war-ravaged country had been “enslaved under the pretext of fighting terrorism.” He urged the withdrawal of the Turkish forces from Afghanistan on the grounds that their presence there had “no strategic importance left.”