We are living in a semi-open prison: Turkey’s main opposition CHP head

We are living in a semi-open prison: Turkey’s main opposition CHP head

We are living in a semi-open prison: Turkey’s main opposition CHP head

AA photo

Turkey is like a “semi-open prison,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said in a speech on the rising number of jailed journalists and writers in the country. 

“We have imprisoned writers, journalists and artists. We are actually living in a semi-open prison, but we’ll continue to resist,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Oct. 2 in the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Zülfü Livaneli Art Center, which will be built by the Çankaya Municipality in the capital Ankara. 

“We will know how to struggle. Artists, writers, cartoonists, journalists and lawyers should not worry; Turkey will continue on the path of contemporary civilization,” he added. 

CHP Deputy Chair Tekin Bingöl, CHP Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Engin Altay and Çankaya Mayor Alper Taşdelen participated in the ceremony, along with Kılıçdaroğlu and popular composer and singer Zülfü Livaneli. 

The CHP head said “no dictatorship favors art or artists.”

“We need to show great respect to you [artists and writers]. It is every honorable citizen’s duty to glorify you. If we don’t, we would not be performing our duties for art and the artist ... The artist is the most powerful person in the world. They know their powers so they have always been against all dictatorships,” he added. 

Meanwhile, at the same ceremony, Livaneli asked Kılıçdaroğlu to dedicate the construction of the art center to all imprisoned writers.

Elsewhere, CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Özgür Özel has said the three-month-long state of emergency, declared after the failed July 15 military coup attempt, is not necessary anymore as parliament has reopened.

“Parliament has reopened, so why do we need the state of emergency?” said Özel in a press briefing in parliament on Oct. 3, adding that it is “disrespectful” to parliament to extend the state of emergency.

“We are calling on the cabinet and the government: We are here. We are in parliament. There is no need for a state of emergency. To extend it would be disrespectful to parliament. Assuming the duties of parliament goes beyond the constitutional boundaries,” he said, criticizing the recent National Security Council (MGK) meeting for recommending an extension of the state of emergency. 

Saying parliament “should heal its wounds quickly” after being damaged in attacks during the coup attempt, Özel stressed that it should be kept working for this.

“There are noise and repair efforts everywhere in the building. But it should heal its wounds quickly and be kept working. We need to keep parliament open,” he said.