Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has admitted that the CHP was behind the 1948 killing of renowned Turkish poet and writer Sabahattin Ali.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who recently spoke in critical terms of several acts committed by the CHP during its 27 years of single-party rule in the early years of the Turkish Republic, said during a television program on Thursday that it was the CHP that killed Ali and that imprisoned renowned Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet for his political ideas. “Who sent Nazım Hikmet to jail? Who killed Sabahattin Ali? The CHP. We will always admit the reality but it is not correct to abuse the wrongdoings of the CHP,” he said.
Ali, known for his strong opposition to the state, was convicted of insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in one of his poems in 1932. He served time in the Konya and Sinop prisons but was released after a general amnesty granted on the 10th anniversary of the republic in 1933. Ali was murdered while trying to flee the country on April 1, 1948. His body was found on June 16. It became evident that Ali Ertekin, a smuggler, was the killer; however, the motive behind the murder had remained a mystery.
As for Hikmet, he was one of the greatest international poets of the 20th century. He used to be seen as a controversial figure in Turkey due to his communist and “romantic” revolutionary ideas. He was repeatedly arrested for his political beliefs and spent much of his adult life in prison or exile. He died of a heart attack in Moscow on June 3, 1963.
This was not the first time that Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the period of single-party rule. Kılıçdaroğlu said last month that he does not find right some of the acts carried out by the CHP during that period.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has often criticized the actions of the CHP during the single-party period and says the CHP should face its history, but the CHP leadership has always defended the period by pointing to the conditions in the country at the time. Kılıçdaroğlu's admission was the first time a high-ranking CHP official voiced criticism of the CHP over its actions during the single-party period.
Arguing that seeing the single-party period as solely a CHP period is not right either, he said social democracy did not exist in Turkey at the time and so the CHP was not yet a social democrat party.