Opposition CHP strives to change image on religion

Opposition CHP strives to change image on religion

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Opposition CHP strives to change image on religion

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu visited Doğan Yurdakul in an Ankara hospital yesterday.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday the party would work on changing the perception it was anti-religion, a perception he claimed was created by the ruling party as propaganda.

“For years, the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] and similar parties made efforts to spread the perception that CHP is ‘against religion’ and they carried out propaganda in Anatolia. But we will break this. The CHP respects the beliefs and values of all,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. Cementing his victory over intra-party opposition last week, Kılıçdaroğlu elaborated on his new roadmap in an interview with Radikal daily, recalling the headscarf issue in universities was resolved with the approval of CHP. He emphasized that CHP was not against religious beliefs.

In a heated debate, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously accused the CHP of being annoyed by the existence of the imam-hatip religious schools and suggested the main opposition aspired for “a less-religious generation.”

In further remarks on the issue after a visit to journalist Doğan Yurdakul, who will undergo minor heart surgery this week after his release from prison, Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP “respects people’s beliefs, and we are against exploitation of religion for political gain. Sometimes the AKP mention this perception, and it saddens us. Such discourse is not suitable for the development of Turkish democracy.” Commenting on the Turkish army’s legal shield demand for soldiers against alleged crimes committed while “fighting against terrorism,” Kılıçdaroğlu said extending the prime minister’s authority over such investigations would “water down its purpose.”

The Turkish army has demanded a legal shield for soldiers against alleged crimes committed while “fighting against terrorism,” in a similar way afforded to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) members, the daily Akşam reported.

The draft submitted to the PM’s Office by the General Staff proposed adding a provision to military or civil legislation that will require permission from the PM or the minister of defense before an investigation is launched against military personnel assigned to fight terrorism for their alleged crimes committed on duty.

The Turkish army’s request came after the AKP rushed a bill Feb. 17 in a bid to stave off a controversial probe into the MİT chief  and four other intelligence officials on charges MİT colluded with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).