CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu: Turkish army should stay out of Syria

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu: Turkish army should stay out of Syria

Murat Yetkin
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu: Turkish army should stay out of Syria

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has warned the government not to drag Turkey into a war in Syria.

Turkey's main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has warned the government not to make Turkey a part of the war in Syria while giving humanitarian assistance to the Kurdish-populated town of Kobane (Ayn al-Arab), which has been under heavy attack by forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for over two weeks.

Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News in a telephone interview, Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkish soldiers should not enter Syrian soil and added that he believed the Turkish army is of the same opinion.

The CHP head accused Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu of using the fight against ISIL as a justification of the government’s first priority, overthrowing the Syrian regime. He said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, meanwhile, was trying to build an “extraordinary leader” image for himself through a “cheap war” in Syria.

Here are Kılıçdaroğlu’s words on the Kobane situation and the government’s stance on the ISIL-Syria issue:

* “A CHP delegation has visited Kobane in recent weeks, but according to the latest reports we have received from there, not many civilians remain in the town. Turkey should, of course, give every kind of humanitarian assistance to Kobane, but it should not become a part of the war there and should not enter this war.

* “I believe the government is still helping ISIL. There is some information showing that some of the weapons and money ISIL has is of Turkish origin. ISIL spokesmen do not refrain from speaking about that [assistance] openly. If you pay attention, you will notice that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden did not apologize for saying that Turkey had helped [ISIL]; he apologized for making a conversation between himself and Erdoğan public that was supposed to be confidential. The statement from the U.S. shows that too.

* “ISIL militants [wounded in clashes] are being treated in Turkey. From a humanitarian point of view, there is no doubt that you have to give medical assistance to everyone in need. Bu you must not let that militant go back to fight after recovering. You should arrest them and keep them in custody if necessary. What is the government doing? They are sending the militants back; this means helping them. If the government wants to fight against ISIL, it must first stop helping them. It should control the cells recruiting people for ISIL in Turkey; it should close the borders to militants traveling here from abroad and joining ISIL. In summary, the government should take measures against ISIL in Turkey and on its borders.

* “The [Turkish] government’s priority is not ISIL, but the Syrian regime. The priorities of the U.S. and the Western alliance are not Syria, but ISIL. We made this point clear during the motion debate [in Parliament]. Now, Davutoğlu has announced this himself as a fact. The government wants to fight Syria with the justification of fighting ISIL. I don’t give much credence to the notion that the U.S. would go to a war in Syria, or would like to see Turkey going to war with Syria. Look at the reports about the lack of any reference to land units in the NATO statement the other day. There might also be a secret agreement between the U.S. and Russia on Syria; we have information about that.

* “Turkish soldiers should not enter Syrian soil. There are those who want to drag Turkey into the Syrian soil, into the atmosphere of war in the Middle East. Turkey should not play this game. I believe the Turkish military thinks the same way.

* “Erdoğan wants to become an ‘extraordinary leader’ through the dream of a ‘cheap war’ in Syria. Like many 'extraordinary leaders' in history, he is trying to keep his power consolidated by creating 'extraordinary situations' - or illusions of extraordinary situations - one after another. First, it was the suspicion of a coup against himself using court cases like Ergenekon and Balyoz. Then, there was the illusion of another coup attempt using the Gezi protests, and finally there are the claims of a ‘parallel structure’ against the government. The last in this series is the dream of a cheap war in Syria. But when it became clear that this war would not be so cheap, he was late in putting the brakes on. God save Turkey from leaders considering themselves ‘extraordinary,’ and God save Turkey from war.”