The CHP’s shameful stance on Syria

The CHP’s shameful stance on Syria

When Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), visited the Turkish town of Reyhanlı after the bombings that killed 52 civilians, he had earned my respect. “I did not come here to make politics,” he had said, and shared the grief of the people. He also made a speech emphasizing the common values of Sunnis and Alevis, defying the sectarianism that is burning neighboring Syria.

Hence I opened my Twitter account, in Turkish, and wrote the following:

“Kılıçdaroğlu’s speech that underlines Alevi-Sünni brotherhood is worthy of praise; kudos from me.”
However, things changed dramatically right after that. The CHP’s insane side, if you will, weighed in, and my feelings turned from respect to disgust.

First of all, CHP spokesmen began to speak provocatively against the Syrian refugees in Turkey, as they have done before. Nihat Matkap, a member of Parliament, who is also one of Kılıçdaroğlu’s deputies, claimed that “it was very suspicious that there were no Syrian refugees in Reyhanlı city center in the hours before the bombing.” Just like the stupid myth that “Jews did not go to work in New York’s Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001,” this was evoking a conspiracy theory that turned a whole community into suspects.

Kılıçdaroğlu began to speak nonsense, too. Despite his earlier promise that he would not use the Reyhanlı deaths “for politics,” he soon blamed the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for being responsible for the carnage. Despite all the evidence pointing to the Syrian Mukhabarat and its local apparatchiks, Kılıçdaroğlu had nothing to say against the Syria regime. He rather condemned Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan as “the murderer of Reyhanlı.”

Of course, it was everybody’s right to criticize or condemn Erdoğan’s Syria policy. But one had to be mad to call him a “murderer” for a terrorist attack that hit Turkey.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s rage created a scandal in Brussels as well. After a press briefing with EU Socialist group leader Hannes Swoboda, Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters: “Between al-Assad and Erdoğan, there is only a difference of shades.” But Swoboda found this comparison unacceptable, and said: “We have a lot of criticism of Mr. Erdoğan, but you have to respect the personality who has been elected in Turkey. You cannot compare Mr. Erdoğan with … a bloody dictator.”

Then Swoboda called off his meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu, as a response to his nonsense. In return, Kılıçdaroğlu’s team bashed the European politician for “disrespecting freedom of speech,” which only showed how feeble they are. (Freedom of speech does not imply that everybody has the obligation to sit down and listen to your nonsense.) Then Kılıçdaroğlu said it was him, not Swoboda, who canceled the meeting, but he convinced nobody. The most disgusting part was the campaign the pro-CHP media initiated against Swoboda: They are claiming these days, with huge headlines but zero support, that Swodoba has been “bribed” by the AKP and that is why he “disrespected” Kılıçdaroğlu.

In fact, however, it is the CHP elite who disrespects human rights, human reason and simple honesty these days, with their disgusting stance on Syria. Since the beginning of the carnage, they have never condemned the bloody tyranny of al-Assad, but rather sent him emissaries to help out his PR. Out of ideological and sectarian ties, and also their unprincipled habit of condemning whatever the AKP does, they have been blatantly pro-al-Assad. Shame on them and shame on their supporters.