Main opposition slams President Erdoğan over ‘polarizing’ language on the eve of key polls
ANKARAThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, saying they used a polarizing and divisive language by accusing naysayers of the upcoming referendum of siding with terrorists.
“The president, prime minister, and governmental spokespersons are using a polarizing and divisive language. They should immediately stop this. Where is the national will? Why are you holding this referendum if you are going to denounce those who are going to say ‘no’ to it?” Levent Gök, deputy parliamentary group leader of the CHP, told reporters on Feb. 13.
His comments came after Erdoğan said those who were to vote against the constitutional amendments on the April 16 referendum would mean they stood with the plotters of the July 2016 coup attempt.
Gök stressed that all political parties, including the CHP, stood against the coup plotters on the night of July 15, 2016, adding that it was thanks to their stance and solidarity with the government that helped them reclaim democracy in Turkey. “How can you say all these Mr. President? Was it us who harbored members of FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization]? Was it the CHP that recruited all FETÖ members to state institutions?” Gök said.
He stressed that Erdoğan and Yıldırım’s accusations against the CHP actually reflected the predicament they put themselves in after they realized that the changes had insufficient support.
“People have understood why they will say ‘no.’ The ruling party and the president have failed to explain why people should vote ‘yes.’ This is their problem,” Gök stated.
Naysayers are not terrorists: Deputy PM
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş clarified Erdoğan and Yıldırım’s earlier comments about naysayers, which caused relentless rebukes from the opposition, who accused the government of smearing all citizens voting against the constitutional amendment by calling them terrorists.
“Neither our prime minister nor our president has said a word that would label all citizens who plan to say ‘no’ to be perceived as terrorists,” he said on Feb. 13 after a weekly cabinet meeting.
“What they paid attention to was that the enemies of the nation and the elements of the enemies of the state are systematically and organizationally supporting ‘no.’ It is not something hidden, it is very evident,” he said.
“For days, we see that Kandil [headquarters of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party - PKK] and FETÖ have given their supports to the ‘no’ campaign,” he said.
“Therefore, it is unnecessary to make it be seen as a misunderstanding or a wrong perception,” he added.
Kurtulmuş also said that the “yes” votes were ahead in the referendum polls.
“We are at the beginning of the campaign and we see that the yes votes are ahead. I think that as the campaign proceeds, the ‘yes’ votes will increase,” he said.