Turkish main opposition objects to ruling AKP’s letter to Kerry, writes its own
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Adana deputy Faruk Loğoğlu. DHA PhotoTwo leading members of the Turkey-United States Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group took initiative and penned a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in which they focused on the plight of fundamental freedoms in Turkey, contrary to what had been suggested by some 88 members of the group, led by its chair from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Adana deputy Faruk Loğoğlu and Ankara deputy Aylin Nazlıaka penned the letter, Loğoğlu’s office said on March 12.
“We believe by now you should have received a letter dated Feb. 16, 2015, addressed to you by Mr. Şaban Dişli, Chairman of the Turkey-United States Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. We would not have been obliged to write this letter to you had it not been for the fact that the views expressed by Chairman Dişli do not at all represent our views as members of the Friendship Group on the matters raised in the letter. We the undersigned are MPs from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). The Dişli letter was sent to you without our consent,” the letter said, clarifying their situation.
“The poor and alarming state of fundamental freedoms, including and especially those of the freedom of expression, press and media in Turkey, is well known the world over. Journalists who dare to criticize the government are invariably prosecuted, generally put in jail or at best, lose their jobs after their bosses are intimidated by the government. There is really no need to belabor the point that the ever-increasing erosion of fundamental freedoms in Turkey is an affront to democracy and the rule of law,” continued the letter penned by Loğoğlu, a veteran diplomat and former undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, and Nazlıaka.
“On the other hand, the reference by Mr. Dişli to ‘some Turkish organizations in the United States with questionable motives and affiliations’ in his letter is part of an on-going tug-of-war between two former political partners. The problem here is that the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) is misusing the powers of the state in its attack against the targeted community with no holds barred. If there is wrong doing or unlawful activity by any group, the matter should be handled fairly by independent judiciary and with due process of law. We submit our views for your kind consideration so that you have the full array of opinions regarding the points raised in the Dişli letter,” the letter concluded.
In early February, 88 members of Congress had sent Kerry a letter urging him to support media freedom in Turkey.
Later in February, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Turkey-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group would send a letter to Kerry in response.