Turkish main opposition leader accuses gov’t of criminalizing students
Okan Konuralp ANKARA - Hürriyet
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu welcomes children at the party’s headquarters. DHA photoThe recent pressure on university students led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Cabinet members amounts to a “criminalization” of students, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said.
“Can a prime minister put all students staying in [private] houses under suspicion? Can he create an environment in which all parents will suspect their children?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked daily Hürriyet on Nov. 7.
“Soon they will pass a law, then they will raid student houses and arrest them as ‘terrorists.’ They will criminalize the students. These are not things done by healthy minds, it is not the state’s job to violate private life,” he added.
The prime minister objected to mixed-sex student accommodation earlier this week, making public that governors had already been “intervening” in certain situations upon “intelligence” about houses where male and female university students live together.
“There are some troubles concerning the sharing of houses in some places, as we could not meet dormitory needs,” Erdoğan said, adding: “It’s not clear what is going on in these places. They are all mixed up, anything can happen.”
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey’s real problems were being forgotten due to the debate over Erdoğan’s remarks. “We have forgotten the inflation, unemployment, development, our national and international problems. Turkey should get out of this issue, and for that to happen, Erdoğan needs to stop talking,” he added.
“He does not have the smallest idea about basic rights and freedoms. As always, I have my trust in the youth. Because the Gezi protests have shown that the Gezi youth is cleverer than Erdoğan,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.