Turkish gov’t going too far in post-coup attempt state of emergency measures: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

Turkish gov’t going too far in post-coup attempt state of emergency measures: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

Turkish gov’t going too far in post-coup attempt state of emergency measures: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

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The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has criticized the government for “going too far” in the implementation of authorities granted by Turkey’s ongoing state of emergency.

“I remember [the military coups] of March 12 [1971], Sept. 12 [1980]. There was polarization and conflict. But not even this many people were arrested [in either coup]. Trade unions were not closed down. But now they are rapidly closing trade unions,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told private broadcaster CNN Türk on Aug. 27. 

“The rule of law is the fundamental criteria that will give you [the government] righteousness. The limits have been passed in some cases,” Kılıçdaroğlu added, accusing the government of opportunism in the aftermath of the coup attempt. 

The government declared a state of emergency for three months in July, saying it was necessary in order to more effectively fight against the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), said to have been behind the coup attempt. The government has since issued three separated decree laws to purge all Gülenists from state institutions and to re-structure these institutions, ostensibly to avoid future coup attempts. 

Along with dismissing tens of thousands of civil servants from the state offices, a number of media outlets, trade unions, civil society organizations have also been closed down through decree laws over alleged links with FETÖ. 

CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that state of emergency measures against civil servants and other individuals must not create a new group of “victims.” 

“A large number of civil servants have been dismissed and they will never be able to return their jobs. There was a similar measure taken by soldiers [after the coup] in 1980. But they later removed the word ‘lifelong’ from the dismissals, considering that they might have made mistakes in the dismissals,” he said.

‘Aslı Erdoğan should be released’

Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the pre-trial arrest of renowned Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan for “praising terrorism” and the closure of daily Özgür Gündem over links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We can never accept newspapers’ lending support to terror. As a matter of principle, we are also against the silencing of any media organization. If a newspaper is to be closed, it should be through the courts,” he said, recalling that Özgür Gündem and other recently closed media outlets have been silenced through decree laws without formal court decisions. 

“Author Aslı Erdoğan should not have been arrested. She just expressed her thoughts. Journalists and artists can be put on trial for crimes committed, but you will fail to explain it to the modern world if you impose pre-trial arrest on them,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

Recalling claims that Erdoğan has not been given her required medicine while in prison, the CHP head described it as a “shame.” 

“She was already ill. Why don’t you give her medicines? It’s a shame. She should be released,” he said.