Commenting on the CHP’s newly announced program and pledges by the main opposition party, Swoboda said: “There are positive sides in the CHP’s election program. We find the new CHP administration positive. We want to have greater cooperation with them.” Swoboda also directed criticism at the CHP, saying the party is not entirely on the European social democrat line. “We want the CHP to draw closer to this line,” he said, adding, “The nomination of suspects in the Ergenekon case [by the CHP] was not an innocent move.” He also said the CHP should exert more efforts to become the ruling party in Turkey.
Ergenekon is a clandestine criminal group accused of working to topple the government through large-scale chaos in society.
The CHP recently nominated four suspects in the Ergenekon case -- journalist Mustafa Balbay, former Başkent University Rector Professor Mehmet Haberal, former head of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) Sinan Aygün and former chief public prosecutor İlhan Cihaner -- as deputy candidates in the June 12 parliamentary elections. Balbay and Haberal are currently in prison while Aygün and Cihaner were previously set free pending trial.
In response to a question about Turkey’s bid to become a full member of the European Union, Swoboda said Turkey’s EU adventure is “complicated” and “problematic.” “Turkey needs to work on some fields. It needs a new constitution. I do not think that Turkey will become a member of the EU before 2020 or 2023. It is hard for Turkey to become an EU member before then.”