Sacked academics will return to universities after elections if CHP is elected: Kılıçdaroğlu
Thousands of sacked academics will be given their jobs back at universities if his party comes to power on June 24, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu vowed on June 19.
“We will abolish all [state of emergency] decrees and all sacked academics will return to universities,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a televised interview in Istanbul.
Since a state of emergency was declared on July 20, 2016 – four days after Turkey’s deadly coup attempt that killed more than 250 people - tens of thousands of people including academics, law enforcement officials, judiciary personnel and civil servants have been jailed pending trial. Some 150,000 have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs.
The government says the crackdown is necessary to fight security threats since the attempted takeover, but Kılıçdaroğlu said the “biggest threat facing Turkey is really a lack of justice.”
“All 81 million people living in Turkey do not have safety of life because there is no justice in this country,” he added, speaking three days ahead of snap presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.
“We will continue our fight until justice is served. They have thrown out hundreds of people with single degrees. They have sentenced them to hunger. They have placed travel bans on them and their spouses. They have condemned tens of thousands of people to civil death,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“We have to install justice. We have to install morals and justice. This is not an individual fight but a collective one. It is our struggle,” he added.
It is not only emergency decrees that have been used to sack academics in Turkey since the coup attempt. On May 25, Alaattin Duran, the dean of Istanbul’s Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, was dismissed from his post upon instructions from the Higher Education Board (YÖK) after a solidarity visit from Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of CHP. .
And universities are also not the only workplaces that have been upended by purges. Ankara shut down its military academies and put the armed forces under the command of the defense minister after the July 15 coup attempt.
Commenting on the shutting down of military schools after the coup attempt, Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP is “not in favor of politicizing the army.”
“Politics should not be involved in the mosque, the barracks, or the courts,” he added.
Some 60 million registered Turkish voters will be eligible to hit the polls on June 24 in a landmark presidential and parliamentary election during which for the first time the votes will be put in a single envelope.
On the presidential side, CHP Yalova deputy İnce is looking to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while the CHP is campaigning for a solid parliamentary showing, entering the election as part of the “Nation Alliance,” an electoral formation including the nationalist İYİ (Good) Party, the conservative Felicity Party (SP).
The “Nation Alliance” will be up against the “People’s Alliance,” which includes the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Erdoğan and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) led by Devlet Bahçeli.