Speaking with reporters over iftar (fast-breaking) dinner on Tuesday in Ankara, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not inform any party group in Parliament on important developments in Turkey's neighborhood. “In closed regimes, there is no need to share information. If it is democracy, he needs to come to Parliament and inform us,” he said.
The CHP leader also slammed the government for balking at the idea of convening for an extraordinary session to discuss the latest developments relating to terrorism and Syria. “We will convene Parliament: He [Erdoğan] may wish to not come, it is up to him. However, we have to fulfill our historic responsibility. If Parliament will not convene on this day, when will it do so? Who is providing the guarantee that what is happening in Syria will not spill over to Turkey? The government does not follow national policy. The AK Party [Justice and Development Party] is led by terror,” he said.
The CHP filed an official request on Tuesday with the Parliament Speaker's Office for an extraordinary parliament session to be convened on Aug. 14. The CHP's move comes in the wake of simultaneous attacks on four military outposts in the southeastern province of Hakkari by members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Sunday and ongoing fights with terrorists in border areas with Iraq and Iran. The PKK attacks come amid Turkish concerns over emerging Kurdish rule in Syria's northern cities along the Turkish border following the withdrawal of Bashar al-Assad's forces from these predominantly Kurdish-populated areas to fight opposition forces in Damascus and Aleppo.
The Turkish Parliament adjourned for summer recess on July 4 and will start a new legislative year on Oct. 4. Signatures of 110 deputies are needed for Parliament to hold an extraordinary session. Kılıçdaroğlu said Parliament is the legitimate platform to discuss Turkey's most important problems. “It is necessary to inform deputies who were elected by the people in this legitimate platform,” he stated.
The CHP leader again raised the claim that Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is wiretapping him, his family members and some deputies from his party. The CHP leader complained that the prime minister confirmed in a sense his claims of wiretapping when he once said his ruling AK Party was aware even of how Kılıçdaroğlu breathes. “If a state agency conducts this wiretapping with full knowledge of the political authority, it will support ‘closed regime' allegations,” he said, adding that what Erdoğan does in Turkey is no different from what Assad does in Syria.
Talking about the appointment of Sedat Selim Ay, a police officer who caused Turkey to be fined by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in two torture cases, as the deputy chief of the İstanbul Police Department's anti-terrorism bureau, Kılıçdaroğlu claimed that Erdoğan is not telling the truth about Ay and misleading the public. “The prime minister's evaluation of Ay's legal background is not true,” he said, stressing that standing behind Ay means Turkey is supporting torture. “He must be immediately sacked. If not, then the government is protecting torturers,” he remarked.
Ay was convicted by a Turkish court in 1996 after being charged in connection with torture allegations raised by eight individuals in custody. However, he never spent time in prison as his sentence was suspended. The ECtHR found Turkey guilty of failing to punish those responsible, although torture had been proven in the case, and ordered Turkey to pay 10,000 euros to the victims. In 1997, Ay was investigated over his role in the torture of 15 individuals in custody. However, the prosecutors dropped the case. One of the individuals who alleged she was tortured and raped by a group of police officers, including Ay, took the case to the ECtHR. The ECtHR fined Turkey again for failure to conduct an effective investigation and trial. The victim, Asiye Güzel, has since published her experience in a book.
The main opposition leader accused the government of “being stuck between a carrot offered by [president of the autonomous Kurdish region Massoud] Barzani and a stick waved by [US President Barack] Obama in its foreign policy. The government should have foreseen that events unfolding in Syria would lead to the disintegration of Syria. A political authority that cannot see the future, lacks vision and pursues a foreign policy that is completely driven by suggestions from abroad will lead Turkey into disaster. It is unfortunate, but that is where we are now,” he said.
With the carrot, Kılıçdaroğlu was referring to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's visit to northern Iraq last week during which the minister met with Barzani to discuss terror and Syria. The stick refers to a controversial photo showing Obama holding a baseball bat while speaking to the Turkish prime minister on the phone. The White House claimed the photo, dated July 30, highlighted “the ongoing close relationship" between the two leaders, while the Turkish opposition slammed the government with criticism, saying that the picture was disrespectful.