No room for racism in CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu says

No room for racism in CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu says

No room for racism in CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu says

‘We know the instructions given to the media for stirring [up] the CHP. We also know those who fulfill their duty,’ says CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, criticizing the media for attempting to heat up conflict within the main opposition party. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

In an attempt to soothe an internal rift within his party, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, has said there’s no room for racism in the party while warning his lawmakers to be attentive in the language they use as they are not lecturing at the university.

“Some say there’s a group of neo-nationalists within the CHP. All of us are neo-nationalists, nationalism is one of our party’s six main principles,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his address to his party’s parliamentary group yesterday. “The nationalism our party advocates has nothing to do with racism. The CHP advocates nationalism of [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk. Our nationalism defends plurality. Our mentality backs embracing all people regardless of their ethnic origin. Everybody’s ethnic origin is their honor.”

Our remarks may be twisted: Kılıçdaroğlu
Kılıçdaroğlu comments referred to an intra-party crisis ignited when a deputy, CHP İzmir Lawmaker Birgül Ayman Güler, said Jan. 23 that she did not consider the Turkish nation and “Kurdish nationality” to be equals. 

Her remarks caused CHP Adıyaman Deputy Salih Fırat to resign from the party. Güler later attempted to retract her statements and said Turks and Kurds “were of course equal without a doubt.” Fırat, meanwhile, said yesterday he expected more resignations if similar incidents and attitudes continue. 

The CHP’s leader urged Güler, who is also a political science professor, to use deliberate and cautious language without directly mentioning her name. “While we are giving speeches at Parliament’s rostrum, we are not lecturing at the university. We have to use attentive and deliberate language considering how much our remarks may be twisted. That’s why every CHP member should be very careful,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu said he is not considering reshuffling his party’s Central Executive Board, but instead described such reports as imaginary. Relatedly, the CHP’s provincial chairmen will gather at the party’s headquarters tomorrow. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Gültan Kışanak labeled Güler’s remarks as “racist and discriminative.” 

Remarks by Güler are not reflecting an individual’s mindset, they are reflecting a mentality that should be eliminated entirely, Kışanak said. Beyond racism and discrimination, Güler also committed a hate crime and provocation, she said.