Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to introduce high democratic standards “without waiting for the EU to open up accession chapters.”
“Why are you waiting for the EU? Aren’t you the state, don’t you have your own will? You have a will, you have a government and we are telling you that we will give you every kind of support if you bring about all the democratic standards of the European Union without waiting for them to open up accession chapters,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Oct. 3.
“Why would we surrender to imposition? Don’t we have a will? I have said this to [former Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu, and [Prime Minister Binali] Yıldırım,” he added.
The Turkish government has long demanded that the European Union open up new chapters in its bid for the membership, despite declining democratic standards in recent years.
“Do our people deserve a third-class democracy? Why doesn’t our country have a first class democracy with judicial independence and media freedom?” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“If there are more than 150 journalists in a country’s jails, you cannot say there is a democracy in that country … We already say it: There is no democracy. We are talking about a democracy that is not actually there,” he added.
The CHP head also referred to charges against opposition daily Sözcü’s stakeholder Burak Akbay on claims he has links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
“What is the relation between Sözcü and FETÖ? What is its writer’s relation to FETÖ?” he said.
“Linking Sözcü with FETÖ is losing one’s mind. If you are [aiming to] intervene the editorial line of Sözcü, I will be the first to stand in favor of that editorial stance,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.