Kılıçdaroğlu in London vows to continue to struggle for democracy
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has vowed to “continue the struggle for democracy,” speaking during a visit to London after a number of cases were recently opened against him in Turkey.
“If they think we will step back, we will not, without a doubt,” Kılıçdaroğlu told a group of journalists on Dec. 7.
“They are threatening us and filing complaints to prosecutors. No matter what they do, no matter what the consequences will be, we will bring democracy to our country, our flag, our children and our homeland,” Kılıçdaroğlu vowed.
His comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed a criminal complaint against Kılıçdaroğlu, accusing him of “insulting the president.”
On Dec. 6, a prosecutor issued the complaint against Kılıçdaroğlu, accusing him of “adopting a rhetoric that overlaps that of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization’s [FETÖ]” for a speech in which he claimed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) covered up an initial investigation into Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish businessman who is currently a witness in the trial of a Turkish banker accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
“No matter what they do, we will fight back tenaciously,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, challenging the president once again to a debate on TV.
“He is complaining to prosecutors. Instead of complaining, you [Erdoğan] should confront me if you have the guts, and we will talk about this. But he doesn’t dare. He could not confront me, and now he is seeking solution from prosecutors,” he said.
Criticizing the current record of democracy in Turkey, he urged the state of emergency - imposed right after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt - to be lifted.
“In a country where there is a state of emergency rule, there cannot be democracy,” he said.
Referring to the upcoming elections in 2019, when changes to the constitution pushed by a referendum on April 16 will fully be in effect, Kılıçdaroğlu once again repeated the main opposition’s stance against the amendments.
“To struggle against a dictatorial regime is a patriotic duty. I want you to vote for democracy in the 2019 elections. Our struggle is for justice, rights and law,” he said.
“We will win the biggest cities. The referendum results showed us that. We will continue on our path,” he said.