Main opposition Republican People’s Party (MHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has expressed confidence that contentious constitutional changes will be rejected in an upcoming referendum, criticizing opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for being indifferent to the discomfort of the MHP base.
“The referendum will result in a ‘no’ rather than a ‘yes’ vote. I am that sure. Why? Because this country has not been abandoned that much. The nation will protect its sovereignty,” Kılıçdaroğlu told Habertürk on Jan. 24.
“I have confidence in the common sense of the people. Why would the people transfer their own sovereignty to other?” he said.
“Sovereignty cannot be transferred to one person. There is no example of this in the world. One person cannot represent a nation. Sovereignty rests unconditionally with the nation,” he said, arguing that the constitutional change would radically reduce the authority of the parliament, turning the legislature into a rubber-stamp assembly.
The charter was approved by parliament with the joint efforts of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and MHP, but the CHP leader said the base of the MHP was not content with the changes.
“I want to separate Mr. Bahçeli from the MHP. There is a serious discomfort in the MHP base. I don’t know if [this discomfort is] in all of the base or not but I am sure of this: everyone who loves his or her country will say ‘no’ to this constitutional amendment,” he said.
“We are talking to the nationalists. Our world might be different but we are together in loving our country,” he said, emphasizing the nationalistic inclination of CHP ideology.
“I am inviting all nationalists and nationalist idealists: if you would like to save Turkey from a division, let’s struggle for it together,” he added.
Terror debate continues
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş touched off a debate after he said terrorist organizations might step up attacks in Turkey before the referendum but would abandon such attacks in the event of a “yes” vote.
“After a big ‘yes’ vote in the referendum, terrorist organizations will get to a stage of defeat,” Kurtulmuş said, prompting Kılıçdaroğlu to accuse him of “confessing to abetting terror.”
The debate continued as Kurtulmuş slammed Kılıçdaroğlu for distorting the context of his comments for political purposes.
“I want to tell to Mr. Kurtulmuş,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, recalling former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s comments.
“Davutoğlu said ‘our votes increased after the bombs,’” he said.
“If there is a serious struggle against terrorism, if the obstacle blocking the security forces of the state are removed, if the political obstacle is removed, terrorism can be terminated if it is followed by a rational policy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“If there will be rational policies, we are ready to support it as the opposition,” he added.
“Turkey should put a clear distance between itself and terrorist organizations especially on the issue of ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and al-Nusra in the Middle East,” he added.