Turkish army should be kept out of politics, says CHP
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has urged the government to keep the army out of the politics after the ruling party members have bombarded an opposition lawmaker who criticized the sale of a military factory to the Qatari army.
“It’s not right to do politics over the army,” Kılıçdaroğlu told his parliamentary group on Dec. 1 in Ankara.
A row between the CHP and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has escalated after CHP lawmaker Ali Mahir Başarır argued that the sale of the military factory was equal to selling the Turkish army to Qatar.
Almost all the senior AKP officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, slammed the opposition lawmaker as Erdoğan called on Kılıçdaroğlu to expel Başarır from the party. Meanwhile, a prosecutor has launched a probe about the remarks of the lawmaker.
In a strongly-worded reply, Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the CHP regarded the Turkish army as the army of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, and therefore has never behaved disrespectfully.
“Weren’t you [Erdoğan] the prime minister when the chief of General Staff of this country was jailed on charges of terrorism?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked, referring to former top soldier İlker Başbuğ who was imprisoned for 26 months. Başbuğ was released only after a verdict by the Constitutional Court.
It was later been proven that Başbuğ and many other senior military officials were prosecuted and jailed as a result of judicial plots orchestrated by the FETÖ, a terror organization that attempted to overthrow the government in mid-2016.
Kılıçdaroğlu has claimed that Erdoğan was in cooperation with the FETÖ in attempts to jail the military brass through the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon cases in the early years of the AKP rule.
“Who are you to talk about the army? He is now trying to attack us through the army,” he said.