Opposition emerging within CHP

Opposition emerging within CHP

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Opposition emerging within CHP

Samsun deputy Haluk Koç (C) reads the declaration signed by 11 other deputies asking the Republican People’s Party (CHP) administration to take action against Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün’s comments at a press conference in Parliament. AA photo

Hüseyin Aygün, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the eastern province of Tunceli, issued statements in which he said his party was responsible for the Dersim killings of 1938.

A dozen deputies then issued a joint declaration in response. In consequence, party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu warned both Aygün and the 12 deputies who issued the declaration. I do not know whether any disciplinary action will be taken, but this latest incident has laid bare the unease that has long been forming within the CHP.

The principal criticism in that declaration was more directed toward the policies of the CHP and its leader during the past one year, rather than attempting to punish Aygün. The 12 deputies were explicitly accusing the party’s administration of “turning a blind eye toward attempts to transform and alter the CHP.” The criticism that has long echoed in the CHP’s convoluted backrooms that “the party is being pushed toward the liberal-left” was not openly given voice to:

“The CHP is obliged to present a sensitive attitude when it comes to the issue of developing a unified political rhetoric and maintaining ideological consistency over the various matters that occupy Turkey’s agenda. It is high time to realize that political attitudes designed to accommodate conservative and neo-liberal advice have rendered our party and our fundamental principles questionable in the public,” according to the 12.

The declaration specially emphasized that the French left had become an alternative for government in 2012, through the support of masses, by prioritizing the country’s own “national interests.” The declaration also gave a message to the administration to “draw the party away from a liberal line and toward the national left where it ought to stand.”

The CHP’s administration was quite disturbed about the declaration. But for now, they give the impression that they will merely content themselves with watching without taking any action.

The identity of the person who read the declaration, and of those standing next to him, yields clues about this movement. Professor Haluk Koç is known for his national-leftist stance. He had run against Deniz Baykal before. Despite this, Baykal had again placed Koç on the deputy list, as he had lent his support to Baykal’s policies of late, and particularly those regarding the Kurdish problem.

It was also striking to see that, asides from Koç, all the deputies from the Mediterranean province of Antalya signed the declaration, including Gürkut Acar, Arif Bulut, Osman Kaptan and Yıldıray Sapan. The meaning of all this is crystal clear: The backing of Antalya deputy Baykal, whose discomfort regarding the party’s policies of late is well-known, was demonstrated in this manner.

The opposition within the CHP is taking shape, and it seems they will not merely content themselves with a single declaration. And if this opposition continues to develop, then it could also bring about some serious score-settling when the CHP finally has its assembly in the fall of 2012.