Only death will silence me, CHP head says
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said pressure from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will never be able to silence him, vowing that only his death would stop him from speaking the truth.
“They threaten me saying, ‘Kılıçdaroğlu, beware! We’ll push you around!’ If I keep quiet, its cost is my death. We will get silenced when we die, but our thoughts will live on. We will continue to defend the rights of the poor until the end. We are defending the rights of 80 million people,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a party meeting in the northwestern province of Eskişehir on Dec. 24.
Kılıçdaroğlu was indirectly referring to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s strong-worded criticisms against him and subsequent legal actions taken by Erdoğan and other AKP officials against the CHP leader over his claims that members of the president’s family were sending money to an offshore account.
In a public address in early December Soylu had slammed Kılıçdaroğlu, saying: “I am speaking openly: Kılıçdaroğlu, you are finished.”
The CHP leader also claimed the government was seeking to extend the state of emergency in a bid to continue its efforts and pressure to silence all opposition parties. The state of emergency was issued only days after the July 15, 2016, coup attempt and has been extended every three months since then. Ankara says the state of emergency has been imposed to oust members of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), blamed to be behind the attempted takeover, infiltrated in state institutions.
“What is the need for such a long-lasting state of emergency? If it’s actually about FETÖ, the fight is already ongoing. Did anybody interrupt your fight against FETÖ? No. What they want is to silence the opposition,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The primary target in the actions taken against the opposition is the CHP, he said. “They are now looking for ways to silence the CHP. But no one can do it, not even their masters.”
The government wants a fully obedient opposition that never voices any criticisms, Kılıçdaroğlu stressed.
“They want us to keep quiet. ‘Say yes to whatever we are doing and applaud us. And we’ll hail how we have a wonderful opposition as it is hand in hand with the government for Turkey,’ they say,” the CHP leader added.
‘2019 elections have nothing to do with rightists or leftists’
The opposition will support the government if its actions and decisions are good for Turkey but it will also stand against it over its wrongful actions, he added.
“They should know this: We will never make any concessions on this principle. We defend press freedom,” he said. “We are in favor of a Turkey where democracy, gender equality and a free academia will prevail. One can talk about democracy only if these are granted.”
Also speaking about the need of unity for the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections, Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated that the upcoming elections will be a choice between pro-democracy and pro-autocracy advocates.
“The elections in 2019 will not be about rightists and leftists. It will be about democracy,” he said.