Turkey’s CHP to sit out as pro-Kurdish HDP prepares to protest MP removals


The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said the CHP would not fall for the ruling party’s ploy to push the opposition into street protests against the removal of three lawmakers from parliament earlier this week.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is slated to march in a call for justice after Turkish authorities on Thursday arrested three opposition lawmakers after parliament stripped them of their seats.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told T24 news site that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lacks the power and resources to solve country’s problems, and is looking to feed off the chaos created by protests over the incident.

“We are not going to fall for this ambush and we will spoil this game,’’ Kılıçdaroğlu said. “We will continue conducting positive politics.”

Erdoğan’s AKP-controlled parliament barred CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu and HDP deputies Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları from serving in the assembly by lifting their diplomatic immunity. The move permitted all three to be taken into police custody over terror and espionage charges. Berberoğlu has since been temporarily released from prison in accordance with the COVID-19 coronavirus measures Turkey has implemented.

“Erdoğan met with Parliamentary speaker Mustafa Şentop and gave the order for the lawmakers to be stripped of their status,’’ Kılıçdaroğlu said.

When Berberoğlu was sentenced to jail in 2017 over spying charges, Kılıçdaroğlu led a 25-day, 450-km march for justice, which massed into a rally attended by more than 1.5 million people in Istanbul.

The CHP leader has no such plans this time around.

“Conditions today are very different. I find a march under these circumstances wrong. The CHP must be different from other opposition parties,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. “We must abstain from any acts that create tension and are open to provocation.”

The HDP announced on Saturday plans for two Ankara-bound marches, one from the northwestern province of Edirne and another one from the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Hakkari. The marches, to be led by HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar, are set to begin on June 15.

Buldan in a speech on Sunday lauded the HDP for its role in bolstering Turkey’s opposition.

“Nobody can win an election in Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya or Mersin without the HDP. We argue the same thing today: Nobody anywhere in Turkey can win an election without the HDP,” T24 news site quoted Buldan as saying.

The HDP co-chair’s statement was an apparent reference to the HDP’s decision to refrain from nominating candidates in key provinces in local elections in a bid to support the CHP, as it did in the 2019 local elections.



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