Turkey is passing through a tough test to maintain societal peace, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, amid ongoing tension following deadly terrorist attacks that sparked violent public demonstrations across Turkey targeting citizens of Kurdish origin.
“We have given 107 martyrs. We attended another funeral today. Turkey is passing through a difficult test to maintain its societal peace. This test is for all of us. We must pass this test for our republic, for our children, and for contemporary Turkey,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a press conference in Ankara on Sept. 9.
He said the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had been trying to divide the people of Turkey and to create enmity within society for the last 30 years, but vowed that “Whatever you do, we won’t be divided.”
The people must be careful not to fall into the “traps of provocateurs” in their anti-terror protests, Kılıçdaroğlu also said. “Turning our demonstrations into violent acts would only serve the terrorist organization. Let’s denounce terrorism, let’s march against it with our flags in our hands, but let’s do all of this in line with our values,” he added.
“Our 77 million people should be very sensitive about this. I particularly call on my young friends: You are the future of this country. No one has even the smallest doubt about your love for your homeland. Please do not be provoked,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, stressing that stoning buses carrying Kurdish citizens or bureaus of political parties would lead to division in society, in line with the PKK’s objectives.
‘President should have called for calm’
“I’d like to see the president make such calls [for calm]. I’d like to see him defending brotherhood, promoting the unity of the country, and calling on youngsters to stay away from provocations,” the CHP leader said.
“Our views may be different but we are breathing the same air. We should be able to be together in both our bad and good days,” he added.
Clearly referring to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Kılıçdaroğlu also called on all political parties to put a distance between themselves and terrorist organizations. “Terror is a crime against humanity. Full stop. We will stand against terror. Full stop,” he said.
‘Media freedom a must’
Referring to recent attacks on the media after daily Hürriyet’s headquarters were violently attacked for the second time in two days, Kılıçdaroğlu emphasized the need to protect freedom of expression for a healthy democracy.
“The media and the press are our eyes and ears. We may or may not buy a particular newspaper. We may or may not read it. But we will not accept any pressure on the media. The media must freely work,” he said.
“Accusing and attacking the media is never right. We cannot accept this,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.