Republican People's Party (CHP) İzmir deputy Birgül Ayman Güler's statement that people of Kurdish origin cannot be equal to Turks has created a new crisis within the party, with a fellow deputy resigning from his position in protest of Güler's remarks.
Worried that the controversial remarks might harm the Kurdish peace process that Turkey has recently launched, columnists strongly condemn Güler and also point out that her views are contradictory to the party's leftist image which it claims to have.
Güler's statements have greatly disturbed Kurds and Turks whose hopes for peace have recently been raised Mustafa Karaalioğlu from Star says. The ongoing peace process which we are in is more of a psychological process, he says. That is why Güler's statements might do more damage than violent acts. In other words, if we were to compare the CHP deputy's remarks with the recent murders of three Kurdish women in Paris, the former is more likely to derail the peace process. “We got it. The CHP is quite confused and in disarray right now. But Turkey has neither the power nor the patience to deal with this confusion. If the CHP won't take part in the peace process, at the very least it should curb the discriminatory and alienating wing within the party and not cast a shadow over the peace efforts,” he writes.
Koray Çalışkan, a Radikal columnist, suggests that Güler resign from the party as soon as possible. Otherwise, her racist remarks will be perceived as the viewpoint of party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the whole party.
The columnist describes Güler's remarks as “fascist and racist.” Moreover, they are completely against the party's ideology, which is supposed to be democratic leftism. How then was a CHP deputy able to make such bold statements, he asks. The main reason for this is Kılıçdaroğlu's recent statement that his party is a nationalist party, which encouraged the conservative and nationalist wings within the party. Thus, in the face of such a big crisis, Kılıçdaroğlu should make a serious move and voice his opposition to Güler's statements. It is now within the CHP's power to overcome this crisis which will be hard to repair, but not yet impossible.
“How can we expect a party that fails to have a consensus within to unite the whole country?” Taha Akyol asks in his article in Hürriyet. According to the columnist, the struggle of the CHP stems from the party's failure to become a true social democrat party.
Taraf's Melih Altınok points to the irony of the situation, saying that if a person who has no knowledge of Turkish politics reads that a CHP deputy delivered such racist remarks while the country is discussing a law to allow suspects to use their mother tongue when testifying in court, he would think that Turkey has a government that is striving to restore Kurdish people's rights and an opposition party that deems viewing Kurds as equals to Turks to be an insult. Thus, that person would think that liberal leftist social democrats must be in power in Turkey and the opposition party must be a racist and fascist one, Altınok says.