No state secret in leaked recordings, Turkish main opposition leader says
Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu addresses supporters in the Black Sea province of Bartın, March 28. AA PhotoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu claimed that a leaked audio recording of a conversation between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and government officials about whether Turkey should conduct a military incursion into Syria does not constitute a state secret, in a televised interview on March 27.
“There is no situation of a state secret. There is no such term as a ‘state secret,’ if you turn the state into a material for your domestic politics, then this will the picture … State secret? Which state secret? They are banning an issue to their own citizens while the rest of the world can learn it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the recent ban on YouTube in Turkey, introduced soon after the leak. The main opposition leader also stressed that the government had to find those who made the recordings and leaked them no matter who they were. “If the perpetrators are not found then they [government] will be under doubts.”
The recording, which was posted on YouTube on March 27, reveals a top secret conversation between Davutoğlu, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler.
Speaking in a televised interview on March 28, Davutoğlu criticized Kılıçdaroğlu over his claim last week that the Turkish government could seek a war in Syria. Kılıçdaroğlu had called on the chief of general staff to “abstain from an adventure” in Syria.
Davutoğlu said Kılıçdaroğlu should “clarify” his statements, as they could indicate a possibility that the CHP leader was previously “informed by somebody” about the leaked conversation.
The foreign minister also criticized former ambassador, CHP deputy Osman Korutürk, for his remarks about Sinirlioğlu.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also slammed Kılıçdaroğlu for his criticisms of the block on YouTube, accusing the CHP leader of not criticizing the leak, but rather spreading it through YouTube. “This is a matter of the state,” Arınç said.
However, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said both the content of the conversation and its leak was “fateful.”
“The top brass’s plans for Syria are fatal, and the leaking of these conversations due to a security weakness is an open failure,” MHP deputy Şefket Çetin said on March 28. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is afraid of the local election results and therefore wants to cover up corruption allegations by creating an “atmosphere of war,” Çetin said, adding the government’s banning of YouTube after blocking Twitter had nothing to do with protecting state secrets.
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also issued a written statement on March 28 saying the leak revealed “illegitimacy.” “It’s unacceptable that the ruling party, using all the powers of the state, proposes a plan that would carry the country into a war with illegitimate methods,” the statement said.
It added the AKP would risk war to protect its rule, as it currently faces problems in domestic politics.