No vote will bring a sigh of relief for Turkey: Main opposition

No vote will bring a sigh of relief for Turkey: Main opposition

No vote will bring a sigh of relief for Turkey: Main opposition

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Constitutional amendments that will usher in an executive presidential system with few checks and balance will be a disaster for Turkey, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, calling on citizens to vote “no” to provide a breath of fresh air.

“This regulation will bring a catastrophe to Turkey. If you vote ‘no,’ the country will take a deep breath,” he said at the opening of a joint meeting of his party’s parliament, high disciplinary committee and parliamentary group at party headquarters on Feb. 10.

“If you care for your homeland, your children and your neighbors, you should do a good deed and say ‘no,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

There is no democracy or state of law under the current circumstances in the country, Kılıçdaroğlu said, accusing the high court of being responsible for “the chaos in Turkey.”

“The main element that is driving Turkey into chaos is the Constitutional Court. This court cannot assure society. [The state of emergency decrees] are being implemented unlawfully and the institution that is responsible for supervising it is not fulfilling its duty,” he said.

Criticizing the statutory decrees for violating international legal standards, Kılıçdaroğlu said the Constitutional Court’s decision not to block decrees issued under the state of emergency rule had paved the way for lawlessness.

“With the decrees issued this week, [the government] amended unemployment insurance, disabled the Supreme Election Board … changed the banking regulations. What relation do they have with the state of emergency?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked, arguing that the government was exploiting the situation for its own benefit while blaming the top court for enabling the ruling party.

“They [the ruling party] produce a process which has no place in international law. The Constitutional Court remained silent on this. You can do it, the court said,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The Constitutional Court has previously denied a CHP appeal that it annul the decree laws issued by the government for violating the charter. The court rejected the appeal, stating that the content of state of emergency rulings was outside the court’s jurisdiction.

“This Constitutional Court and judges do not give confidence to this society and the community of law. I would like them to question their conscience and to abandon their seats,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu stated that judges hearing cases related to the July 15, 2016, coup attempt had lost their impartiality for fear of being affiliated with the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and that this had paved the way for unlawful arrests and investigations.

No exemption from conscription: CHP

Kılıçdaroğlu also rebuked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s suggestion to exempt future MPs at the age of 18 from military service, saying the regulation aimed to benefit elite adherents of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“This regulation is not an effort to encourage the youth to get involved in politics. They are trying to exempt the sons of AKP elites from military service. It has come to light now. While the sons of poor people are being martyred, the sons of AKP elites will be deputies,” he said in a CHP Central Executive Board meeting on Feb. 9.

Kılıçdaroğlu, although an opponent of the regulation, said it was important for young people to be encouraged to join politics without being allured to avoid joining the military. 

Erdoğan suggested exempting 18-year-old future deputies from military service on Feb. 8 at the 36th meeting with village heads.

“The right to stand for elections at the age of 18 is for our youth. Which one is harder? To be elected or to elect? Electing is harder. Being elected is not as difficult. They ask ‘but what will happen to military service?’ As if 7 million young men will be deputies! How many people will be elected to parliament? They can be exempt from being drafted into military service, given that 10 to 15 people will be elected to parliament. I’m not saying postponing. I’m saying exemption. We also entitled this right to police officers,” Erdoğan said.