Ousted Mardin co-mayor Türk visits former main opposition leader Baykal

Ousted Mardin co-mayor Türk visits former main opposition leader Baykal

Ousted Mardin co-mayor Türk visits former main opposition leader Baykal

DHA photo

Ahmet Türk, the ousted co-mayor of the southeastern province of Mardin, has paid a visit to former leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Deniz Baykal, in Ankara. 

Türk visited Baykal, who is currently a CHP lawmaker from the southern province of Antalya, to express appreciation for the latter’s visit to his family during his arrest.  

Türk was ousted from duty on Nov. 17, 2016, before being arrested. After being arrested on Nov. 24, 2016, Türk was sent to Silivri Prison until being transferred to a prison in the eastern province of Elazığ. A number of senior political figures, including Baykal, have called for his release due to his old age and deteriorating health.  

“As you know, when I was detained, Baykal went to Mardin. I thank him for that. This had a positive impact on me,” he told journalists in a joint press meeting with Baykal on Feb. 21, stressing that politicians were under risk. 

“We are living in a country where whether you want peace or are defending democracy, as a politician you are under risk. That’s why there is no other way but to solve the problems and find a common ground in the country. I hope that everyone with conscience really spends efforts to provide the development of a democratic process and a peaceful environment. Because we know and believe that there is no solution other than embracing peace, coexisting and building a common future,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Baykal said he was pleased to see Türk free and healthy in parliament. 

“Unfortunately we are going through very troubled times. I hope we have left behind the actual troubled days. I’ve always believed that we should sustain our humanitarian duties, responsibilities, love, respect and friendships between each other while we go through tense and polarized politics. We need to find a way to live peacefully by collaborating all together. I’ve always believed that this is possible. I know this from Ahmet Türk, whom I met years ago. He hasn’t lost his identity while also maintained his calmness,” Baykal said. 

Türk said he would also speak to Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), to express gratitude for the latter’s support, who called for his trial to continue without arrest after hearing about his deteriorating health. 

“Our world view and political understandings are different, but after all, we are human beings. He made that statement for the sake of humanitarian responsibility. I want to thank him for that on the issue. We will see if we are going to meet or talk on the phone,” he added.  

Earlier, Türk gave a speech in a parliamentary group meeting of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). 

“Our leaders, lawmaker friends and mayors are now in dungeons. I send my love and respect from here. We’ve been through these in the past. We know that violent politics cannot silence those who demand freedom,” he said, adding that the Middle East would not be free unless the Kurds were freed. 

“There is a mindset that sees Kurds as potential danger. This is the reason for our sufferings today,” he said.