The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has called on nationalists to vote “no” in the April 16 referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be replaces with an executive presidency.
“They are asking how the nationalists are going to vote ‘no.’ I’m calling on my Idealist brothers: If nationalism is very valuable, which it is, no one should be worried. I am also a patriot and a nationalist,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said at a rally in the Aegean province of Denizli on March 16.
Nationalists are often known as “Idealists” (Ülkücüler) who support the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Kılıçdaroğlu also commented on the debate on calling naysayers “terrorists.”
“I never said anything about yaysayers or naysayers. I will respect our people. They are incapable of telling the people about why they should vote ‘yes,’” he said.
“What [is the government] saying? ‘Naysayers are terrorists.’ Why are they terrorists, my friends? When you say this, you acquit those who travel in the mountains with weapons,” he said, referring to the Kandil Mountain in northern Iraq, where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) camps are based.
Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 to decide whether to replace the current government system with an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the president.
The “yes” vote is endorsed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the leadership of the MHP, while the CHP and the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are campaigning for a “no” vote.
Calling on people to think about the country, flag, children, grandchildren, justice, law and rights before deciding on their stance regarding the referendum, Kılıçdaroğlu noted that the issue concerned all citizens.
“This is not a political party meeting, it concerns all of us. It concerns shopkeepers, business owners, industrialists, farmers, villages – all of us,” he also said.
During his speech, Kılıçdaroğlu asked the people if they were “aware of the danger that’s coming.”
“Are you aware of the size of the danger? I’m insistently saying that this is not a party issue. We are not voting on bringing a party to government. This is an issue of the country, the flag and the future. This has nothing to do with the president or the leader of a party. We are all mortal, but the state will stay,” he said.
In addition, Kılıçdaroğlu said the proposed constitutional changes would not solve the problems of any citizens.
“The most valuable thing God gave us is intelligence. God asks us, ‘Aren’t you using your intelligence?’ What does ‘one man’ mean? It means, ‘We are giving all authorities, not using our intelligence.’ Individuality only belongs to God,” he said.