I talk about justice, Erdoğan talks about my undershirt: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

I talk about justice, Erdoğan talks about my undershirt: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

I talk about justice, Erdoğan talks about my undershirt: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu


Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has blasted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for complaining about the vest he was photographed wearing, “instead of focusing on the problems of justice.”

“I talk about justice, he talks about a vest,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview on private broadcaster NTV on Aug. 23. 

His comments came after Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials, including Erdoğan, criticized Kılıçdaroğlu over a photo taken during his 25-day “Justice March” from the capital Ankara to Istanbul, which showed him eating in a vest in the trailer he stayed in during the march. 

AKP officials claimed the CHP leader “demeaned himself” by having his picture taken in such conditions, but Kılıçdaroğlu defended the photo as “sincere.”

“I’m not somebody who envies palaces. I was having dinner with my daughter in peace. I was brought up in such conditions anyway,” he said.

“You [Erdoğan] have forgotten about your people. You have started to think that everyone is like the people in the palace flattering you,” he added.

Row over jailing of CHP lawmaker

Meanwhile, as the bitter row between the AKP and the CHP over the imprisonment of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu deepens, Kılıçdaroğlu slammed the government for “carrying out a plot against the CHP.” 

“Enis Berberoğlu has been taken as a hostage. It is the first step of a plot against the CHP,” he said. 

Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison for “leaking state secrets” to the media in a case regarding the stopping of weapons-loaded National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks allegedly heading to Syria, but Kılıçdaroğlu said the issue was “not a state secret.”

“Can an issue that everybody already knows about be a state secret? It is not something secret. The governor knows. Journalists know. Citizens know. But they say it was a state secret. Even the Constitutional Court has ruled that it is not a state secret,” he said. 

“In order for it to be a state secret, the local authorities should have been informed beforehand that a truck was to pass through such a route. But your prosecutor sent you intelligence that some weapons are being carried, so if you do not interfere there would be big trouble,” the CHP head added. 

“The police and gendarmerie were not informed about the trucks. So it is a secret of some people, not a secret of the state,” he said. 

“Not they have imprisoned Enis Berberoğlu over a newspaper piece saying he leaked state secrets. But there are no documents, only a whispering in somebodies ear,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Presidential candidate

After Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ claimed that the CHP leader would be named as a presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Kılıçdaroğlu said it “too early” for the main opposition to determine a candidate.  

“We have a plenty of time until the presidential elections. Certainly as the CHP we will have a candidate. But there is nothing more wrong than to say that I’m the candidate now. Nobody should worry, the name will be a well-known personality,” he said, adding that the candidate would be “impartial.”

Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019. The elections will be critical since the new executive presidential system - which was narrowly approved by the April 16 constitutional amendment referendum, amid objections from the opposition and criticism from abroad - will go into effect. 

Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated the CHP’s objection to the new executive presidential, which grants sweeping powers to the future president and further erodes the separation of powers. 

“Our candidate will defend a parliamentary democratic system. Our presidential candidate has to promise a new constitution that will embrace all 80 million people in Turkey, a healthy political party law, and an abolition of the 10 percent election threshold. He or she has to ensure transparency in the state,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

“We will nominate a person with these qualities. There are many names with these qualities both inside and outside the party,” he added.