We don’t call naysayers ‘terrorists’: Turkish justice minister

We don’t call naysayers ‘terrorists’: Turkish justice minister

We don’t call naysayers ‘terrorists’: Turkish justice minister

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The government will not categorize those who plan to vote against the constitutional amendments as terrorists, a senior government official has said, but added that it wants the public to know that two major terror organizations are in “no” camp. 

“We don’t call naysayers terrorists,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ told state-run TRT in an interview on Feb. 9. “If terror organizations are exerting efforts for a ‘no’ vote, then our citizens who tend to vote against [the changes] should know who is working to this end.” 

Bozdağ’s statement came in response to the main opposition party, which slammed Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım after he accused the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of siding with terror supporters. Yıldırım depicted the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, as the main elements of the “no” camp. 

“Why are all terror organizations mobilizing their grassroots for ‘no?’ Does the PKK say ‘no’ for Turkey’s national security?” Bozdağ said. “I have to explain this to our citizens. And everybody will do so. What we say is that everybody had better look at who’s voting ‘yes’ and who’s voting ‘no.’”

CHP should not go to high court 

Asked whether the CHP would appeal to the Constitutional Court to annul the amendments, Bozdağ said he had no doubt that the main opposition would go to the high court. 

“This is the CHP’s habit: to try to resolve problems through the judiciary. In fact, applying to the Constitutional Court on an issue which will be submitted to the people violates political ethics,” he said.

The changes in the constitution will only be approved after the Turkish people vote on them, the minister said. “We should all go to the people.” 

Referendum likely on April 16 

Bozdağ also said the date for the charter referendum was likely to be set for April 16. 

“The claims that the president will rule the country with statutory decrees are an exaggeration and distortion. The president will not be given the power to eradicate the parliament. The public is being told lies. Our president has no hesitation. The referendum date is expected to be April 16,” he said.