Turkish PM, main opposition vow to protect ‘climate of unity’
AA photoThe leaders of both Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have stressed their willingness to maintain the spirit of national solidarity in the country’s politics following the July 15 failed coup attempt, which paved the way for a climate of unity in the highly polarized world of Turkish politics.
Delivering a speech on Aug. 9, AKP leader Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım vowed to “carefully” protect the climate of unity which reached a climax with the massive rally held in Istanbul over the weekend with the participation of ruling and opposition party leaders.
“Turkey has opened slightly the door of conciliation, unity and togetherness. After this moment, we will protect this ground for conciliation with care. Turkey has reached an unprecedented societal contract. We will handle it with kid gloves,” Yıldırım said in his address to his party’s lawmakers.
The massive Aug. 7 rally that brought around 5 million people together with the participation of the leaders of the AKP, the main opposition CHP and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was a turning point for Turkey, Yıldırım stressed.
“The nation was there, so was the head of the nation, the commander-in-chief. We were all there; the CHP, the MHP, their esteemed leaders and party members. We were as magnificent as Istanbul,” he said.
They together delivered a very strong message to the world, Yıldırım said, adding, “We have shown that our state, our nation is one.”
Those who have not heard Turkey’s calls since the coup attempt and who have ignored the putsch and its perpetrators realized at last the unity expressed by the Turkish people on Aug. 7, Yıldırım said, adding, “Those who are still talking about evidence on [Turkey’s extradition request for] the leader of the terrorist organization in Pennsylvania have seen the demand of the Turkish people.”
‘Gülen will account’
Without providing a name, Yıldırım obviously referred to the United States and Turkey’s demand for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, who has been living in Pennsylvania since 1999. Turkey says the coup attempt was carried out by members of the Gülenist organization within the army.
“This terrorist leader will come to Turkey and will account. That man who ordered the bombing of parliament, the pointing of Turkey’s guns on the Turkish people, will get what’s coming to him. We will render an account of the blood of our martyrs and wounded,” he stressed.
Yıldırım’s remark was echoed by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during a meeting of his party’s provincial heads in the western province of Çanakkale, as he reiterated the importance of standing on “common ground” in Turkish politics.
Kılıçdaroğlu also signaled his will to maintain unity in politics, as he called on his party’s provincial leaders to talk about and spread the “Yenikapı manifesto,” in which he promised to “develop a reconciliation culture in politics.”
“We all know that we have been through a very difficult period. We have overcome a crucial event. But there are issues that all of us should be thinking about. First, we should think about how we have reached here and second, what we should do to not face such an event [in the future]… If the institution of politics does not form a strong common ground in Turkey, this political institution will not give hope for the future,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
Kılıçdaroğlu, however touched upon issues that should be paid attention to while protecting the political solidarity in Turkey in the days ahead, underscoring the importance of the parliamentarian system, in reaction to the lack of invitation to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for the Aug. 7 rally, and stressing his stance against the state of emergency declared after the failed coup bid.
Kılıçdaroğlu said all political parties should have been invited to the Yenikapı meeting, including parties which did not have a seat in parliament, and the meeting should have “united all, no matter what their political views are.”
He called on the CHP’s provincial heads to visit the provincial head of other parties, saying: “Chat with them, drink their tea. Remind them that a conciliation culture is a must of democracy. We do not agree with their views but they are not our enemies.”
Saying that “the real heart that represents the national sovereignty is the parliament,” Kılıçdaroğlu reacted to the state of emergency, adding that exceeding “a limited authority” given during this period meant the “exclusion of parliament.”