Turkish ruling party ‘to leave liberals out’

Turkish ruling party ‘to leave liberals out’

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish ruling party ‘to leave liberals out’

Aziz Babuşçu. AA photo

Some groups like “liberals” that were the government’s partners over the last 10 years of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) rule will no longer side with the administration amid the creation of a new Turkey, the party’s Istanbul branch head has said.

“Those who were somehow [partners] of ours in the 10 years of our rule will not be partners for us in the next 10 years,” Aziz Babuşçu was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency in Istanbul yesterday during a meeting of the Suriçi Group. “[This is] because in the last 10 years, there were partners of ours who were standing by what we did in a liquidation process and in defining freedom, the rule of law and justice. Although they cannot tolerate us, let’s say liberal circles, they have been partners of ours for some reason, but the future period of constructing [Turkey] will not be like that.”

The coming term will not be liberals’ “desire,” he said. “Hence, those partners will not be with us. Those [liberals] who somehow walked with us will be the partners of those who are against us because the Turkey that is to be built will not feature a future that they accept or desire. That’s why our task is even harder.”

Cem Toker, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said the AKP had never stood by liberal values and that the Babuşçu’s comments were a harbinger of worse days ahead.

Toker said the AKP had failed to protect fundamental rights and produce a justice system that could protect such rights.

“In Turkey, none of press freedom, freedom of expression or the right to share information have improved, according to most prestigious international institutions’ reports. When I look at the European Court of Human Rights, I see the same conclusion,” he said in a phone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Toker said when someone refers to liberals in Turkey, “ex-Marxist journalists and academics” come to mind.

“This fraction attempted to convince the conservative AKP that it was a liberal party,” Toker said.

Mehmet Altan, who was recently fired from daily Star and was known for his criticism, said he was sticking to principles, not to AKP policies.

“Is the AKP the same party that it was in its first three years in power, or is it a party encompassing Uludere [an incident in which 34 Kurdish civilians were killed in December 2011] and keeping the lid on Deniz Feneri [a corruption case]?” he told the Daily News yesterday.

Altan said the AKP had metamorphosed and turned into a party that had replaced the Turkish army as the power in the country.