Turkey’s Oppositon Leader: Turkey Has Chance to And Polarisation After Coup
In an interview at the Republican People’s Party (CHP) headquarters in Ankara, Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu also urged President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to uphold the rule of law during his post-coup purge.
The CHP leader held an unprecedented meeting two days ago with Erdoğan at his presidential palace in a bid to forge national unity in the wake of the July 15 coup.
Turks of all political affiliations poured into the streets that night to oppose the renegade soldiers — a rare show of harmony in a country that has at times seemed hopelessly divided.
“There is a real polarisation in Turkey and Turkey must be saved from this polarisation,” Kilicdaroglu told AFP.
“I hope we all learn a lesson from these events, not least those in charge of the country,” he added.
Kiliçdaroğlu’s meeting on Monday with Erdoğan which also included Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli was a major turnaround for the CHP leader.
“I will criticise Erdoğan and I have not finished criticising Erdoğan. I went there (the palace) for Turkey’s normalisation, for it to be secure and to make sure coups do not happen again.”
He said there was an “intent to have warmer relations” with Erdoğan but this had to be translated into political rhetoric.
The president is considering dropping slander lawsuits against opposition leaders as a sign of thanks for their conduct in the coup, an official said on Wednesday.
“In Turkish politics, because there is an axis towards religion and ethnicity, there is polarisation,” said Kiliçdaroglu.
“We have to break this picture.”
The CHP was founded in 1923 by Turkey’s first post-Ottoman leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and sees itself as the guardian of the secular and pro-Western foundations on which he set up the modern Turkish Republic.
“Democracy, rule of law and secularism must be accepted,” he said” There must be a politics of understanding a different kind of politics.”
He warned the authorities to act within the rule of law in a post-coup crackdown that has so far seen more than 15,000 detained.
“Having a coup was one mistake. But a country that believes in the rule of law will fight for the rule of law also for the putschists,” he said.