More royalists than the king around Erdoğan
President Tayyip Erdoğan said on June 11 that he did not approve of the incident in which a bullet was thrown at Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), during the June 8 funeral of two police officers who were killed in a terrorist attack a day before in Istanbul by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Criticizing Kılıçdaroğlu anyway for speaking carelessly, which might have been agitated by those related to the fallen ones, Erdoğan also said that Kılıçdaroğlu was misquoted in the TV interview which triggered the protests against the CHP head and that misquote was abused for provocative purposes. “If he were more explicit in his words” Erdoğan said, “That the visit of the prisoners from the PKK or DHKP-C [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front] was not only by CHP members but in the framework of the Human Rights Commission of parliament, the expression could be milder.”
During the CNNTürk interview in question, Kılıçdaroğlu had said as a party they did not discriminate between prisoners in bad health conditions and visited them whether they were Islamists, PKK members or DHKP-C members. His words were misquoted by dropping the Islamist and the human rights inspection parts of it, which made the headlines of pro-government media appear as a “scandalous confession” the next morning, when the funeral took place. During the funeral Kılıçdaroğlu was not only protested by a small but organized group but had a bullet thrown at him - a mafioso-style death threat. The attacker was taken into custody upon the warning of CHP officials but was released shortly afterwards.
Kılıçdaroğlu complained and asked whether his death was necessary for such an attacker to get arrested. The remarks by CHP spokespersons saying the visits had been carried out within a parliamentary commission together with MPs from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) were ignored by most of the media. A number of AK Parti MPs gave statements accusing the CHP of encouraging terrorism, while Kılıçdaroğlu was making calls to the government to work together against it.
That the president is now also saying the same thing comes with disapproval after three days. In those three days, CHP members held protest rallies and Kılıçdaroğlu attended another funeral, this time for a policewoman killed in a different PKK attack, together with a number of MPs and his youth organization, which was a matter of criticism as well.
It is either Erdoğan wanted to calm things down after observing sufficient popular reaction to the CHP to deter them from the funerals of the fallen ones in the anti-terror fight, or it is under the influence of those who are more royalist then the king surrounding him. Should it take three days for the president to “disapprove” of the attack on the main opposition leader, who perceived and announced it as a death threat?
The president should be more careful regarding those more loyalist then the king around him, who could do worse than show themselves up as the president wants more executive powers; that is important both for his own credibility and the sake of the country.