Turkish main opposition CHP head accuses gov’t of protecting ‘abusers, thieves’

Turkish main opposition CHP head accuses gov’t of protecting ‘abusers, thieves’

Turkish main opposition CHP head accuses gov’t of protecting ‘abusers, thieves’

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The government is trying to protect “thieves and child abusers,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, in a fiery speech that also directed criticism at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

“If you degenerate morals then you finish the country. A political ethics law should be passed soon,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on April 12, addressing his party deputies in a weekly meeting.

“They talk about beliefs and religion day and night. But didn’t they protect thieves? They will raise hell again, but let me say that whoever lies in front of a thief will find me confronting them. My conscience is clean,” he added. 

The CHP head was referring to a corruption probe in 2013 that embroiled four cabinet ministers as well as Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who is now imprisoned in the U.S. on charges of fraud and violating international sanctions on Iran. The case of the ministers and Zarrab was earlier dropped in Turkey. 

“Why are you lying in front of the Ensar Foundation? I asked that question and a chorus protested me,” Kılıçdaorğlu also said, referring to the opprobrium that greeted his criticism last week of Family Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu over recent sexual abuse cases in private education institutes. 

“The governor and the education minister don’t talk [about the cases]. The family minister is already in the position of lying in front of someone else, so she doesn’t talk either,” Kılıçdaroğlu had said, prompting an angry response from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

The CHP head denied making a sexist remark and said he was referring to a phrase used in a voice recording of a minister allegedly speaking about protecting Zarrab. 

Parliament decided on March 24 to establish an inquiry commission to conduct an in-depth probe into the alleged sexual abuse of children, after news reports that eight male students had been raped by their teacher at an Ensar Foundation branch in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman. A public prosecutor demanded 600 years in prison for the suspected teacher. 

CHP says the government is trying to protect the Ensar Foundation, to which it has close relations, instead of the victims. 

“The whole AKP community, the president, the prime minister, the cabinet ministers, have tried to defend the Ensar Foundation and the association rather than protecting the children,” said Kılıçdaroğlu on April 12, particularly repeating his criticism of Minister Ramazanoğlu for saying that a “one-off event” should not be used as an excuse for a campaign against Ensar Foundation. 

Kılıçdaroğlu also once again slammed the government over accelerating authoritarianism and corruption. 

“In Transparency International’s recent report, Turkey’s situation is explained in five bullet points. First, the principle of separation of powers is not respected; second, the executive organ should respect constitutional boundaries. Also, the executive power’s influence over the legislature, the media and public scrutiny negatively affects checks and balances. Also, all powers are gathered in the executive organ, which weakens the fight against corruption. Inadequate transparency in institutions is due to this dark shadow hanging over them,” he said.