Intellectuals slam opposition CHP's closed-door policy

Right and left-wing intellectuals have slammed the Republican People's Party's (CHP) "closed-door" policy against Abdullah Gül's presidential candidacy, with the CHP's refusal to engage in dialogue with Justice and Development Party (AK Party) presidentia

Intellectuals slam opposition CHP's closed-door policy

Right and left-wing intellectuals have slammed the Republican People's Party's (CHP) "closed-door" policy against Abdullah Gül's presidential candidacy, with the CHP's refusal to engage in dialogue with Justice and Development Party (AK Party) presidential candidate Gül seen as a self-marginalizing act that will further decrease the party's public support.

Professor Baskın Oran, a staunch leftist claimed that if the CHP continues to use the military as a tool of punishment, its votes in the next election could fall to the level of zero. Political scientist Şaban Çalış of Selçuk University said that while the CHP's opposition to Gül's candidacy and decision not to vote for him is an acceptable stance by democratic standards, the fact that a party that claims to be the guardian of the republic and the regime fails to join a vote ordained by the Constitution is unthinkable.

"The pulpit of the nation is the Parliament. They should come and express their opposition from that pulpit. Through not joining the sessions of the presidential election, and by adopting a provocative and domineering tone, they are harming democracy," Çalış said. He warned that while the CHP uses the rhetoric of reconciliation, it is actually standing against a reconciliatory dialogue.

Professor İlker Turan of İstanbul Bilgi University, on the other hand, was not surprised by the CHP's stance. "The political conditions may have changed, but this doesn't mean that this particular candidate became acceptable to the CHP," he said. Turan believes that the CHP's closed-door policy is actually a sign of consistency. According to him the CHP's reluctance to meet with Gül is about the CHP's reservations on Gül's past political inclinations.

"They don't believe that Gül will be able to convince them on these issues. The Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] has similar reservations, but it seems that they are ready to give him a chance to dispel them," Turan noted.

Oran is highly critical of the CHP's reservations on the basis of their approach. "Gül may have said particular things in the past, but this doesn't give anyone the right to oppose his candidacy because of them. Gül uttered those words back in 1995. At that time Deniz Baykal [CHP leader] was a real leftist. Who knows what he is now. People change. Gül may have also changed. Opposing him on the basis of words he had said at that time is not acceptable behavior," Oran said.

While the CHP's closed-door policy is criticized by the intellectuals, the MHP's decision to participate in the presidential election session is receiving praise. Professor Şaban Çalış told Today's Zaman that the MHP's stance is befitting the democratic tradition and is reconciliatory. "Though they don't support Gül, they don't invite further political crisis, either. This is respecting intra-party democracy and the realities of Turkey," Çalış said.

Though critical of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan's failure to visit the political parties prior to the declaration of the AK Party candidate, Turan said that Gül's efforts in maintaining contact in order to disperse the reservations of the opposition parties is praiseworthy in that it is better than not entering into any kind of dialogue at all.

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 12:55
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