PM, CHP leader hold surprise meeting at parliament

PM, CHP leader hold surprise meeting at parliament

PM, CHP leader hold surprise meeting at parliament

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu held a surprise meeting on Oct. 17 at parliament, on the request of the CHP leader.

“We had the opportunity to discuss the many problems of Turkey with the prime minister. The honorable prime minister briefed us on some specific subjects and I thank him,” Kılıçdaroğlu said after the meeting, which was closed to the press and lasted around 1.5 hours.

“We spoke about everything you can think of,” he told reporters.

The meeting was attended by deputy group leaders of the both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the CHP.

“We spoke about the issues facing Turkey with the CHP leader. We made assessments on both foreign politics and the recent news agenda,” said Yıldırım.

Sources say that in the meeting the current situation in neighboring Syria and Iraq, the Turkish military’s Idlib operation, the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) independence referendum, and the ongoing diplomatic crisis with the U.S. over visas were all addressed during the meeting.

Kılıçdaroğlu also conveyed the CHP’s concerns on the extension of state of emergency rule, continued state of emergency decree laws, the situation of jailed hunger strikers Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, and the situation of jailed CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu.

The CHP head reportedly handed Yıldırım a file including information about Gülmen and Özakça, who have both been on hunger strike for over 100 days.

The meeting came after Kılıçdaroğlu accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of turning Turkey into “a tribal state” through foreign policy missteps and his overarching influence on all executive and legislative process in the country.

“He keeps on saying that the Turkish Republic is not a tribal state ... But you are trying to turn the Turkish Republic into a tribal state. We are struggling to prevent this from happening,” he said on Oct. 17, addressing the CHP group at parliament.

His comments came after Erdoğan stressed on Oct. 9 that “Turkey is a state of law, we are not a tribe or a tribal state,” in response to diplomatic tension between Washington and Ankara over the U.S.’s visa restrictions on Turkish citizens following the arrest of a U.S. Consulate official.

“You cannot talk about democracy in a country where there are impositions, corruption and 9 million poor people. That is called a tribal state,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Referring to Erdoğan’s comment on contentious legislation waiting to be voted on in parliament allowing religious state officials to perform marriages, Kılıçdaroğlu called Erdoğan “a tribal leader.”

“A tribal leader instructs and everybody follows their instruction,” he said, in reference to the president’s vow to pass the law amid fierce objections from opposition parties and women’s rights groups.

“He said ‘this law will pass in parliament.’ A tribal leader said it. Why do I call [him] a tribal leader? Because the parliament speaker is silent. The parliament speaker cannot say ‘this is parliament and nobody can interfere with its will,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“[Erdoğan] also has his ‘subjects’ here, the lawmakers of his own party. None of them can say they have their own will or question why he is speaking on behalf of them,” the CHP leader added.

“This is the leader of a tribal state. When he instructs, [lawmakers] come and vote,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.