Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of protecting members who have voiced opposition to the Republic of Turkey, after an AKP official stirred debate by saying the party is in the process of “forming a new state.”
“They are undermining the Turkish Republic. The problem is that all those who have this mentality are coming from the AKP. And they don’t say anything about it. They don’t dismiss these figures. Why? Do you stand for the same thing? Do you aim for the same thing?” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Aug. 8 at a meeting with CHP mayors in Ankara.
His comments came after former AKP Central Executive Board member Ayhan Oğan said on a television show on Aug. 5 that the government is “forming a new state. Like it or not, the founding leader of this new state is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”
Oğan’s comments drew angry reactions from opposition voices, and Kılıçdaroğlu blasted the AKP for defending members who are “against the Republic of Turkey.”
“You are [Oğan] talking about forming a new state. How can you stay in that party? I want the leader of that party to speak up. If you are defending him, defend him. If you don’t, dismiss him. You don’t have any other choice,” he said.
“[Oğan] is an immoral individual who does not respect his history. Do you know how this republic was founded? It was not founded within palaces and at rich tables. It was founded with pain, blood and tears,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
“What do you [Erdoğan] think about that man? You have encouraged him. You had an advisor who said that ‘on April 16 [the date of the referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system] the public took a step to form its own state.’ Nothing was done about him either,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to senior presidential advisor Mehmet Uçum’s comments in April 2017.
The CHP head referred to the Treaty of Sévres of 1920 that dismembered the Ottoman Empire, which was signed by the Ottoman regime but not acknowledged by the resistance forces under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
“You applaud Sévres but you smear the foundation of the Turkish Republic. Isn’t that treason to the homeland? Those who are silent are also involved in treason,” Kılıçdaroğlu added, also calling on prosecutors to take action against Oğan.
“He is destroying the republic, talking about forming a new state, but there is no action from you. You cannot even be a prosecutor,” he said.
“We want to strengthen the democratic structure of the Turkish Republic. They want to destroy the state of Turkish Republic,” he added.
‘AKP mayors only seeking rent’
Criticizing the ruling AKP’s management of Turkey’s big cities, Kılıçdaroğlu said the government was only interested in “rent-seeking.”
“If the city serves only rent-seeking, it will lose its identity. The best example for this is Istanbul,” he added.
“You build big skyscrapers and then complain asking ‘who did that?” he said, referring to the AKP.
Kılıçdaroğlu also condemned the recent attack on CHP Eskişehir Mayor Büyükerşen.
“Some mafia groups have attacked our mayor but the public defended him. We know the danger, we know how it came about,” he added, suggesting that the attack was motivated by Büyükerşen’s stance against rent-seeking local groups.