Main opposition leader accuses ruling AKP of ‘savage governance’

Main opposition leader accuses ruling AKP of ‘savage governance’

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Main opposition leader accuses ruling AKP of ‘savage governance’

Opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the ruling AKP government was ‘ruining’ Istanbul’s historic and natural aspects with excessive projects. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is conducting “savage governance” in Istanbul by forcefully destroying the city’s natural and cultural structures, main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on May 29, during his speech at the opening ceremony of an Istanbul exposition that gathered his party’s municipal staff members.

Sixty-one Republican People’s Party (CHP) municipalities came together at Istanbul’s CNR Expo center, in an attempt to highlight the party’s ongoing projects nationwide, which are continuing despite strong hindrance from the government, according to Kılıçdaroğlu.

The municipalities attending brought selected projects to display to visitors, ranging from organic agriculture to women’s commissions, where they were displayed to visitors, who also had a chance to see replicas of local historic and natural sights.

The opposition leader used the opportunity to praise the “heroic” mayors of his party, citing examples of İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu and Eskişehir Mayor Yılmaz Büyükerşen, who have been the subjects of intense police investigations in the past months.

Kılıçdaroğlu said these cities thrived despite constant harassment and “raids in the morning hours, arrests and detainments.” He particularly singled out a 600-page indictment prepared on Kocaoğlu, which called for him to be sentenced to 397 years in jail.

The CHP head also mentioned the controversial ongoing projects in Istanbul, the metropolitan municipality of which is led by the AKP. He accused the city’s officials of “ruining history in Sultanahmet, nature in northern Marmara, the poor in Sulukule, and culture in Taksim.”

“The citizens say ‘Taksim is ours’ and protects it, while those who seek money try to cast them out by exerting police force. We are deeply grateful in our hearts to everyone who has been trying to protect the Gezi Park,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

His speech was followed by a panel with Socialist International General Secretary Louis Ayala as the guest speaker. Ayala highlighted the importance of local governance and transparency in his speech, defining them as fundamental aspects of strong democracies.

Ayala also offered his view on the Silivri trials, which he had experienced in court with CHP officials. He described the ongoing judicial acts as “ways of the past, of other political systems.”

“I now understand the level of frustration. Exceptional courts, legal systems, these existed long ago, but today they are objects of another political system. To have people on trial for years and not even clarifying the charges against them - this is unprecedented,” he said.