World Bulletin/News Desk
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to sue Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over his remarks last week in Belgium that Erdoğan is a “murderer” and later on Tuesday that he is “a dictator,” saying nobody can describe the prime minister of “this country” as a murderer.
Speaking at a press conference during a visit to Brussels on Wednesday last week, Kılıçdaroğlu said the only difference between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Erdoğan is in the “degree of authoritarianism.” Criticizing Erdoğan's policy on Syria, Kılıçdaroğlu branded the prime minister the “murderer of 51 people” killed when two car bombs exploded in the town of Reyhanlı on the Syria border on May 11. He also said Erdoğan was similar to Assad and called him a dictator. The remarks were also found inflammatory by Hannes Swoboda, president of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, who canceled a meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu in Belgium saying his comparison of Erdoğan to Syria's embattled President Assad was “unacceptable.”
Erdoğan on Tuesday held a press conference at Atatürk Airport, shortly after his arrival in İstanbul after an official visit to the US. The prime minister said he was going to respond to Kılıçdaroğlu through his lawyers.
“The judiciary will find who the murderer is and who is collaborating with murderers in this country. I wasn't the person who nearly defended supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front [DHKP-C], or defended their supporters and clearly said, ‘I'll become a member of that organization',” referring to a remark by Kılıçdaroğlu that he would like to become a member of the Ergenekon network, which prosecutors describe as a terrorist group that attempted to overthrow the government. He said, of Kılıçdaroğlu, “Now this same man is insulting us. He is completely out of control. He is going to Europe to complain about us. But the appointments scheduled with him got canceled. And later he says he was the one who canceled that appointment -- he is not being honest. Taking such moves from such a man seriously is tantamount in to wasting the time of this country. Turkey deserves a better opposition.”
But Kılıçdaroğlu continued his harsh criticism on Wednesday and called him a dictator.
Once again reiterating his claims that Erdoğan is not radically different from Assad in his dictatorial ways, he said, “The man who governs this country is a man who attempts to act like a dictator,” speaking at the CHP's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.
He recalled that Erdoğan had publicly spoken against the separation of powers, saying Parliament and the judiciary stood as “obstacles” in his way. “You call such a man a dictator,” Kılıçdaroğlu told his party's group meeting.
He recalled other past actions and speeches by Erdoğan, such as passing a law in Parliament so that a finalized court order wouldn't be put into effect, but he didn't clarify which judicial verdict he was referring to.
The CHP leader also maintained that it was Erdoğan who had given the order for an airstrike in Uludere, a town near Turkey's border with Iraq, which killed 34 Turkish citizens, all Kurds from the region. The military said they took the 34 civilians to be PKK, and the investigation into the incident was not satisfactory according to most people. The 34 were crossing the border back into Turkey after a day of trading in northern Iraq. A parliamentary report found no individual or agency responsible for the deadly order to bomb the border-crossers. Kılıçdaroğlu said, “Erdoğan is the murderer of our 34 citizens.”
He said the fact that the Ankara Chamber of Commerce had placed ads in newspapers praising the government for paying off Turkey's debts to the IMF is an act of sycophancy that can be seen in dictatorships.
Kılçdaroğlu also alluded to the book titled “The Psychology of Dictatorship” by Georgetown University Professor Fathali Moghaddam, which was presented by the professor himself to Erdoğan's spouse, Emine Erdoğan, last week during the couple's official visit to the US. He said everyone was “onto Erdoğan's [dictatorial] mindset.”
The CHP leader also promised to block any attempt by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to replace Turkey's parliamentary system of government with a presidential system. “A presidential system will not be adopted as long as the CHP is in Parliament,” he vowed.
Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized Swoboda's attitude towards his anti-Erdoğan remarks in Brussels last week. “Who do you think you are to be disturbed by my opinions? I am responsible for what I say to my own people,” Kılıçdaroğlu said addressing the socialist leader.
Last Mod: 22 Mayıs 2013, 10:15