MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK

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MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK
January 30, 2013, Wednesday

The CHP’s problems swept under the carpet

Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was expected to voice his and his party's criticism of deputy Birgül Ayman Güler's recent racist remarks against Kurds in which she said that “the Kurdish nation cannot be equal to the Turkish nation,” drawing widespread ire from politicians as well as causing a CHP deputy to resign in protest of the remark.

Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP has never followed ethnicity-based policies and that it disapproves of those who do. He then accused the media of “making a big deal about it.”

Bugün's Adem Yavuz Arslan recalls a previous interview of his with Kılıçdaroğlu, in which the CHP leader said it is his party's fault that the media constantly discusses intra-party conflicts. However, it seems that Kılıçdaroğlu changed his mind and started to hold the media responsible for the crack within the party. “It turns out that there is no problem in the party, after all. A CHP deputy did not deliver a racist remark and a deputy did not resign over the controversial remark. It turns out that the media is making everything up. What a surprise," the columnist says. The CHP leader tries to open the party to large masses with the discourse of a “new CHP,” but the biggest obstacle of the party is the lack of consensus between two groups: the pro-novelty group and the pro-tradition group. Therefore, it would be wiser if Kılıçdaroğlu were to exert his authority rather than blaming the media. Otherwise, the problems the CHP tries to sweep under the carpet will blow up in the party's face some day, he warns.

It is a shame that Kılıçdaroğlu did not say or imply that Güler's remarks were wrong in any part of his speech on Tuesday, Abdülkadir Selvi from Yeni Şafak writes. Revealing one's stance on an issue is important in politics. The CHP leader should have either supported Güler's statement, which would have led to bigger problems, or he should have distanced himself and his party from the controversial remarks, Selvi notes.

A Star columnist, Mustafa Karaalioğlu, writes the following about Kılıçdaroğlu's statement: “The prime minister once said, ‘You [the media] had a leash around your neck. I saved you from that leash.' Why didn't you criticize him, then?” The columnist says what the prime minister said at that time is true. The media was under the influence of coup planners in the past, and journalists would write based on orders from these coup planners about what to write and what not to. The government is actually able to conduct talks with terrorists to solve the country's terrorism problem and eventually the Kurdish issue thanks to the fact that the media and the public got rid of their leashes. And Kılıçdaroğlu knows it, too. But what he apparently doesn't know is that if Güler had delivered such racist remarks in the past, the media and the public would have applauded her. However, today neither she nor her party can get away with such remarks without making an apology. The times we are currently in are not the times when anyone could insult another's identity, Karaalioğlu notes.

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