Turkish government plotting with intel agency against the CHP: Kılıçdaroğlu

Turkish government plotting with intel agency against the CHP: Kılıçdaroğlu

Serkan Demirtaş ANKARA
Turkish government plotting with intel agency against the CHP: Kılıçdaroğlu

‘Special attention must be paid to media campaigns. No one should fall into this plot, particularly our deputies with nationalist leanings,’ CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu (front, 2nd R) tells Hürriyet and the Hürriyet Daily News in a joint interview. Hürriyet photo / Rıza Özel

Turkey’s government and the country’s intelligence agency are conspiring against the Republican People’s Party (CHP) through media operations in order to weaken the party’s image and stir up fresh trouble, the CHP leader has claimed.

“The current instruction from the AKP [Justice and Development Party] to its deep state about the CHP is this: ‘The CHP is the party of Alevis and Kurds.’ Their objective is to get us entangled in this frame. This campaign is being carried out by a group of people at the MİT [National Intelligence Organization],” CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News over a dinner, which was hosted by CHP Deputy Head Erdoğan Toprak and which saw the participation of deputy leaders Enis Berberoğlu and Mehmet Bekaroğlu. 

Kılıçdaroğlu said he called the MİT “AKP’s deep state” because it is its task to plot against the main opposition in order to create internal disturbance.

“We know that a group within MİT, led by one of the deputy undersecretaries, is tasked with dealing solely with the CHP. [He’s tasked with] stirring trouble inside the party and many others,” he said, adding they had information about "new intrigues" that would be closely followed.

“Special attention must be paid to media campaigns. No one should fall into this plot, particularly our deputies with nationalist leanings. This campaign against the CHP is carried out with the knowledge of the MİT chief and in an institutional manner,” he added.

Although Kılıçdaroğlu had complained about MİT’s attempts to keep files on CHP lawmakers in the past, this is the first time he has publicized his allegations against the intelligence agency so bluntly.

He also called on MİT to cease keeping files on his party's deputies.

The CHP’s outcry came immediately after a fresh campaign was launched by the AKP aiming to corner the party once again over the Dersim massacres of Alevis and Kurds in 1937 and 1938, which took place during the CHP’s single-party rule. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu recently said he has “always been baffled how Alevis could support the CHP after all these things have happened,” sparking reactions from both the CHP and Alevi organizations.

'Exploiting history, using Dersim'

For Kılıçdaroğlu, Davutoğlu’s remarks on Alevis and the Dersim massacre are part of an effort to distract attention from a public debate about the newly erected 1,000-room presidential palace for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“They brought the Dersim issue back onto the agenda in order to avoid further debate over the palace. That’s why I called my lawmakers not to fall into this trap,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“A parliamentary motion for investigating the Dersim incidents was rejected by the AKP. If you are really feeling discomfort over Dersim, then act as a government and launch an investigation about it. But no, they won’t do it because they want to exploit it in cases when they feel cornered. History may not be used as a tool of political exploitation," he added.

No CHP-HDP alliance on horizon

Meanwhile, a frequently debated claim is that the CHP could make an alliance with the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), led by co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, the latter of whom has increased his influence among social democratic voters thanks to his positive rhetoric during the presidential election campaign in August.

Kılıçdaroğlu praised the politics and rhetoric adopted by Demirtaş, adding that “he is currently the best politician in analyzing and observing the ongoing Kurdish peace process.” However, any possible CHP-HDP alliance is "far in the future," he stressed.

“The HDP must radically change for this. We have seen once again how libraries and museums were burned in violence during the Oct. 6-7 incidents. Demirtaş is trying to turn his party into the party of Turkey but there is not a healthy situation among Kurdish actors,” he said.  

'PKK trying to push Demirtaş to a passive role'

The reason for this unhealthy position is deep disagreements between the HDP, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, the CHP leader claimed, citing a recent statement by Demirtaş, who directly called on the PKK to avoid taking steps that would cause the peace process to collapse.

“I find Demirtaş’s remarks positive, but it seems that both Kandil [the PKK’s headquarters] and İmralı [Öcalan] are trying to push him into a passive role. Demirtaş’s aim to become a party of Turkey is not shared by Kandil and Öcalan. I do not know what Demirtaş can do about it, but it’s certain that there will be a debate. Still, he has no chance of being the leader of the Kurdish political movement in an environment where there are weapons,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

'PKK will never disarm itself'

Despite a recent positive climate over the Kurdish peace process, Kılıçdaroğlu said disarmament would never take place as PKK officials have long rejected this request. “They believe they can only be powerful if they have arms. We saw this during the October incidents. The PKK is of the opinion that it can only resolve this process with guns," he said.

Suggesting that the government only wanted the continuation of a truce until next year’s parliamentary elections, while the PKK and Öcalan are pressing the government to come to a final accord before the election, Kılıçdaroğlu said he was not sure whether Kurds would agree to delay the process until the post-election period.

“Some PKK officials have said they have been cheated three times in the past. They want something before the elections,” he said. 

Erdoğan’s ultimate purpose is to amend the constitutional order in Turkey, Kılıçdaroğlu claimed, adding that the AKP would try to approach the Kurds for a joint initiative after the June 2015 polls.  

CHP to contribute to the process?

The CHP chief also outlined the conditions under which his party would contribute to the Kurdish peace process.

“What we say is the need for a continuation of this process with legitimate figures. Is Öcalan legitimate? It’s weird that all negotiations are carried out with just one person,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. When asked about possible government plans to set up a parliamentary delegation to visit Öcalan at İmralı in the coming stages of the process, Kılıçdaroğlu said he would not authorize any of his lawmakers to join the group as that would be perceived as "legitimizing the illegitimate."

“In order to have the CHP’s contribution in this process, it should first be informed about what's happening. We supported a recent six-article law on this issue, and one of the articles stipulates informing the public about the developments. We are asking the government to implement this article, but we know they cannot do so because they have given promises and commitments that the public would never approve of," he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu added that he would soon visit Diyarbakır, but was not planning to deliver messages radically different from what his party has offered up to today.

'Abdullah Gül sets example for Erdoğan'

The CHP head also touched on former President Abdullah Gül’s decision to testify before a prosecutor about a nearly 20-year-old case, publicly known as the “lost trillion case.” Kılıçdaroğlu welcomed Gül’s move and stressed that it "also opens the way for Erdoğan. It sets an example. Erdoğan will have to follow this example.”

The remark was an overt reference to the debate over corruption claims in which Erdoğan, his family and some of the AKP’s top officials have been engulfed since last year.