It’s not right to jail all opposition: CHP leader

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The authorities pledged to the government through the state of emergency should not be used as a tool “to jail all opponents,” the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party has said, vowing to continue to walk the road to democracy and rule of law despite difficulties.

“The understanding that ‘a state of emergency has been declared, so we can issue decree laws to jail all opponents’ is not right. This is not convincing at all,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in a statement on Sept. 5 on the occasion of the ceremony of the signing of a labor contract between CHP-led Çankaya Municipality in Ankara and the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK).

Kılıçdaroğlu ramped up his criticisms against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government over its use of decree laws to sack thousands of civil servants from state service and to prosecute many of them on suspected links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which was blamed for the July 15 failed coup attempt.

“We want a democracy in which the country would be ruled through its constitution, laws and with the principle of rule of law so that only guilty people would be prosecuted and not innocent people. We don’t want Turkey ruled by decree laws,” he stressed.

The CHP chief said they wouldn’t forget about July 15 coup attempt, as all political parties, civil society and trade unions have come together to stand against it, marking a rare period of unity in Turkey’s history, adding: “We want to protect this unity. The core of this unity is the protection of democracy regardless of our ideological, political, lifestyle or identity differences. We must all stand behind this.”

‘Current picture is not promising’

The current picture in Turkey was not a promising one as soldiers fell every day in the fight against terror, Kılıçdaroğlu said, blaming this on the government’s wrongful policies of the past.

“They now admit that they had made mistakes. If we all flock after someone blindly, we would then carry not only ourselves but also our country to the edge of a disaster. That’s why, mothers and fathers, you all must think over and question the realities of Turkey,” he said.

The main objective of the CHP was democracy, so that the state of human rights would be improved and politics as an institution would take lessons from what happened in the country despite all difficulties, Kılıçdaroğlu said, as he recalled the assassination attempt against him in late August.

“There will surely be obstacles, threats on our way. But we won’t return from our way despite bullets. Politicians should overcome all these troubles if they hit the road to defend democracy unconditionally,” he stated.

Being aware of the pressure on his party, Kılıçdaroğlu said their road was not easy but it would not hinder their march to democracy. “’Millions are behind,’ they say, but I will continue on this path even though I stay alone in this struggle. If a cost will be paid in this way, it should be leaders of political parties and intellectuals who should pay it, not the poor.”

“If pain is to be suffered, it should not be the families of the poor but the spouses and children of the leaders and intellectuals who suffer this,” he added.

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