Turkish government 'responsible' for removal of flag: Opposition

Turkish government 'responsible' for removal of flag: Opposition

Turkish government responsible for removal of flag: Opposition

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) speaks after his meeting with Doğu Perinçek (R), the leader of the Workers’ Party (İP). AA Photo

Opposition parties have insisted that the responsibility for the recent flag incident lies solely on the government’s shoulders since political will has paved the way for such an incident.

“The government’s will” is responsible for the removal of a Turkish flag from a mast inside an Air Force base in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, because the political responsibility is in their hands, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters on June 11. He cited a recent statement by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, where he stated the government had ordered the military not to engage with the protester.

“We don’t want the army to hide behind certain justifications. I don’t want to directly blame the military, since our interlocutors are politicians,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, noting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is accountable for the incident.

The opposition leader referred to a statement by Arınç who on June 9 urged attention to a written statement released by the General Staff earlier that day concerning the incident.

Arınç quoted the statement as saying, “We have been patiently following the incidents,” and added the protester who took down the flag could have been “punished at that moment,” if members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) “did not act with patience in commitment to the political will of the government.”

“Arınç said they have ordered the army to abstain from using any bullets, and not respond even if the military post is attacked,” the CHP leader noted.

The government is looking for justification by saying the child was 16-years-old, instead of pondering on the issue that caused “public indignation.”

A masked demonstrator was photographed climbing a flagpole in the 2nd Air Force Command in Lice on June 8, after jumping over the surrounding walls following protests after the burial of a demonstrator killed by Turkish soldiers during an intervention in a road block. Since the photo spread, the rhetoric over the incident has toughened and the military has come under fire for not intervening to prevent the protester.

CHP deputy Alaattin Yüksel said he had talked to generals at the military post. “There are many questions as to how he entered [into the Air Force base],“ Yüksel said.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy chairman Şefkat Çetin criticized the government for allowing the removal of Turkish flag. The peace process was splitting Turkey apart, therefore the main actors in the process are carrying responsibility for the incident, Çetin said, calling on those responsible to resign.

On the other hand, Arınç dismissed Kılıçdaroğlu’s suggestion that the military did not respond to the protestor because of government orders as just “slander.”