CHP’s internal conflicts widen in Aygün case

November 18, 2011, Friday/ 15:23:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Thursday spoke out against the independent decision of 12 party deputies to condemn fellow deputy Hüseyin Aygün, a move which the chairman berated for circumventing central party authority and sowing internal discord.

The 12 deputies, led by Samsun deputy Haluk Koç, held their own press conference on Wednesday to request that Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün be expelled from the party, the result of the deputy's recent statement that the 1937 Dersim massacre occurred with the consent of the state and ruling CHP party. The deputies' Wednesday press conference and memorandum in turn provoked the fury of Kılıçdaroğlu, who now accuses the deputies of using the Aygün case to rebel against the central party.

“Within the CHP there is a group which is opposed to the management of the party's central administration,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his remarks to the press about Koç and the other participants of Wednesday's conference. “They are trying to act on the pretense of Aygün's statements. Getting permission is required for press conferences; they did not even make an effort to do this.”

Koç, who has been identified by the Turkish press as a member of the neo-nationalist wing of the CHP, held the conference hours before the CHP's Central Executive Board (MYK) released its own ruling on the case, telling the press: “It has come to the point that this [memorandum] must inevitably be published. Just as Mr. Aygün voiced his views, we are allowed to also voice ours.”

The impatience of the 12 deputies allegedly contradicted direct orders from the party to delay the press conference until after the MYK finished its Wednesday meeting. Kılıçdaroğlu reviewed the direct order to Koç in his statements to the press, recalling: “If [the MYK] decision is not satisfactory, you are to make your announcement. We do not consent to you making an announcement in advance of the MYK decision.”

Kılıçdaroğlu reprimanded both Aygün and Koç for what he saw as an abuse of the freer party atmosphere the chairman claims to have fostered ever since coming to power in 2010. “When I said ‘I will bring freedom to the party,' it was not meant to be interpreted as ‘I will bring chaos',” he stated.

Kılıçdaroğlu met with Aygün on Thursday, warning the deputy about his comments and stating: “The time and place of announcements is important. I do not want another such announcement.” Both Aygün and Koç are slated to appear before the party's Higher Inspection Board (YDK), which will determine what disciplinary actions may be taken against the two deputies.

Aygün first spoke about the 1937 Dersim rebellion to Today's Zaman in an interview which was published on Nov. 10. Aygün claims the Dersim massacre occurred with the full knowledge of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and that the alleged uprising by Alevi-Kurdish and Zaza minorities which preceded the 1937 massacre was fabricated by state forces in order to exterminate the semi-autonomous tribes of Dersim. He now plans to ask President Abdullah Gül to start an investigation to uncover the hidden aspects of the Dersim incident.

Aygün has remained emphatic that his comments are not meant to slander either the CHP or Atatürk, a sentiment which Kılıçdaroğlu has echoed in statements to the press. “Upon reading Aygün's comments regarding Atatürk and the CHP, it appears that they were not disrespectful. He himself says that ‘it is not correct to say that the Dersim massacre was carried out by the CHP. There was no other political party at the time',” Kılıçdaroğlu stated on Thursday.

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