CHP calls for chaos, fears failing to gain traction in polls

ERCAN YAVUZ
ANKARA

CHP leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu backs call for civil disobedience from some of his party's deputies.
CHP leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu backs call for civil disobedience from some of his party’s deputies.
Without hope concerning its prospects of becoming the ruling party in upcoming parliamentary elections, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) is planning to disrupt social harmony and foment anti-government sentiment with civil disobedience.
The first step was a recent statement issued by 10 CHP deputies who called for civilian disobedience against planned reforms in the judiciary. Reforms include opening new chambers in the Supreme Court of Appeals to lighten the workload as well as overhauls in other high courts. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government intends that this overhaul of the judicial system will make the judiciary more independent and impartial.
AK Party parliamentary group deputy chairman Bekir Bozda? told Today’s Zaman that the statement has come to reveal the CHP’s lack of hope of unseating the ruling party through democratic means. “Turkey is a country where democratic channels are wide open, opinions are freely expressed and ruling power changes through elections.
Some [of the CHP] are fomenting fear and violence in society instead of using the opportunities of democracy and the law to produce projects and opinions. This is shameful in the name of democracy. It shows the hopelessness of the CHP,” he stated.

Bozda? believes the CHP should try “mobilizing” the nation in the elections rather than urging disobedience.

In their statement the CHP deputies likened the government’s judicial reforms to developments under the Nazi regime in Germany and said the people should take to the streets to “raise their voice against the clear and imminent threat.”

CHP leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu also backed the statement, saying: “We will stand up for our rights. We will seek our rights in the judiciary. But what will we do if the judiciary becomes politicized? Then we will seek our rights on the streets.” The deputy chairmen of the main opposition party also spoke in favor of the statement.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an on Saturday described the CHP’s call for disobedience as “banditry” and asked: “What does it mean to riot in the streets? Are you [the CHP] bandits? When did the CHP adopt riot and anarchy as a party policy?”

Erdo?an argued that the planned changes in the structure of the high courts are aimed at saving the judiciary from politicization. He believes the judiciary will be saved from the impact of the CHP with the changes. “The judiciary will belong to the nation. Judges who decide with their conscience will be at work instead of judges who decide in accordance with demands from third parties,” he noted.

The prime minister was referring to Supreme Court of Appeals judge Hamdi Yaver Aktan, whose alleged voice recording hit news websites earlier this week. The recording revealed that the judge agreed to reverse an earlier court decision concerning a criminal gang upon a request coming from a friend of his.

Also on Saturday, a lawyer filed a criminal complaint against the CHP deputies who called on the public to show civil disobedience against the judicial reform. The lawyer, Suat Alpay, argued that the call is aimed to foment chaos in society.

According to Bozda?, sensible citizens would pay no heed to the CHP’s call for civil disobedience.

“Maybe their sworn militants will take to the streets. But the CHP will not manage to urge citizens to revolt. If the main opposition party exerted efforts to urge people to vote for them instead of urging them to take to the streets, they could become the ruling power in Turkey. The Turkish nation will give a lesson about democracy to the main opposition party. This is what we believe,” he added.

It is not the first time the CHP has urged the public to take to the streets to “save the country.” In 2007, the main opposition party joined massive protests against the government, dubbed “republican rallies” by their organizers, but managed to secure only 22 percent of the national vote in the general elections of the same year.

The CHP’s call for civil disobedience was met with criticism by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as well as a former secretary-general of the CHP, Tarhan Erdem. Erdem said the statement was prepared by a group of deputies who had lost hope in the CHP, the government, intra-party appointments and parliamentary elections. He felt the statement is aimed at preparing the groundwork for a “riot.”

The former secretary-general called on the CHP administration to clearly state that they disapprove of the issuance of such a statement and the reasons behind it. “It will be seen once again that people who believe in democracy will provide a lesson to those behind the plan,” he added.

Not hopeful that coup will bring CHP to power

The main opposition party does not seem hopeful of a military coup to unseat the AK Party government and bring the CHP to power.

The main factor is the launch of legal processes into alleged military plans for a coup d’état. For the CHP, the military will no longer be the main source of support in carrying the party to power. For this reason, the main opposition party is after a plan to increase anti-AK Party sentiments in society and thereby gain more votes in the elections slated for June of this year.

The CHP displayed the first example for civil disobedience in Parliament when 10 of its deputies resigned from a justice commission set up to discuss a plan to open new chambers for the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State. Saturday’s resignations were mainly aimed at preventing the commission from working and making decisions.

The AK Party’s Bozda? accused the CHP of being “coup loving” and said the party overthrew its former chairman, Deniz Baykal, with a video clip scandal. A video posted online last year showed Baykal during an affair with a party deputy. Baykal announced his resignation from party leadership, and the top post was taken over by K?l?çdaro?lu.


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