Main opposition CHP’s leader says they will not accept one-man rule in Turkey

Turkey's autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition CHP's leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said they are not going to accept the one-man rule as a justice congress launched by CHP to raise the voices of people seeking justice was finalized on Tuesday.

Kılıçdaroğlu drew attention to free media, free education and ongoing injustices in Turkey in his speech in the western province of Çanakkale.

“There have been debates but nobody hurt one another, we have improved ourselves… We discussed media. People joined and told us about the injustices they experienced. Turkey cannot tolerate such injustices anymore. April 16 referendum and constitutional amendment are not legitimate. One-man rule has not lasted long anywhere. It has no examples in our history. We will not accept it.”

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vastly increased his presidential powers after a referendum in April 16, claiming that it is necessary to protect Turkey’s security from its domestic and foreign enemies. The constitutional amendments proposed in the referendum aim to transform Turkey from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential system.

Underlining the critical role of law in a democratic country, Kılıçdaroğlu said they defined their objectives during the justice congress to support the rights of those seeking democracy and justice.

The justice congress demanded the release of jailed CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu and workshops, panels and discussions were held to discuss justice, elections, religion, education and state in today’s Turkey.

Earlier Kılıçdaroğlu carried out a “justice march” and a “justice rally” after Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 on charges of providing daily Cumhuriyet with a video purporting to show Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) sending trucks loaded with weapons heading to Syria.

According to Kılıçdaroğlu, 73 percent of 80 million people in Turkey believe the justice system in Turkey is not functioning properly.

Announcing a recent CHP poll on the justice system in Turkey, Kılıçdaroğlu said 73 percent of the people attended in the poll said “no” to the question “Do you believe that a just decision will be made when you go to the courthouse for a certain reason?”

Slamming government decrees issued as part of the state of emergency after a failed coup last year, CHP leader said there are 668 children in Turkish prisons as their mothers were jailed as part of a government crackdown on dissents.

“One needs to ask if this is justice. Think about it, you are an academic. You wake up one morning and realize that you’ve been dismissed with a state of emergency decree. You want to seek justice, but there is no institution that you can apply. Because they ban you from seeking your rights,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Mahir Ünal has slammed the final declaration of CHP’s “justice congress”, claiming that it aims to “smear the Turkish government and judicial system internationally.”

“The final declaration of the congress denies the successes of AKP governments on the economy, justice, freedom of belief, education, guaranteeing different lifestyles and the media. It aims to counter our FETÖ cases in the international arena by giving the message that ‘there is no judiciary in Turkey,’” Ünal claimed on Wednesday.

Ünal has also claimed that the declaration as having been written “with a method that abuses the concept of justice.”  and added that the main opposition CHP aims “to facilitate the efforts of factions that attack Turkey in the international arena by exploiting the will of justice.”

The AKP spokesman claimed that “By saying there is no law in Turkey, there is no justice in courts, judges take instructions from the government, and domestic legal remedies have been disregarded, they aim to pave the way for FETÖ members to apply to ECtHR,” Ünal asserted. “These statements will form the basis to reverse judicial rulings in the ECtHR,” he added.

Ünal also criticized Kılıçdaroğlu by referring to the case on the stopping of weapons-loaded National Intelligence Agecny (MİT) trucks at the Syrian border, in which CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu has been sentenced to 25 years for leaking intelligence.  “Kılıçdaroğlu is part of a big plot aiming to put Turkey on trial through the MİT operation, which FETÖ organized. He is working to annul the trials of FETÖ in the international arena,” he claimed.

In January 2014, a number of trucks that were found to belong to Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were stopped by gendarmes in two separate incidents in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana, after prosecutors received tip offs that they were carrying arms to radical Islamist rebel and terrorist/jihadist groups in Syria.

Although the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government claimed that the trucks were transporting humanitarian aid to the Turkmen community in Syria, opposition voices questioned why, if the operation was within the law, the government intervened to prevent the trucks from being searched.

Four former prosecutors and a former gendarmerie officer were jailed when a court ordered their arrest due to their role in the search of the trucks after government figures, including President Erdoğan, accused them of “treason and espionage.”

A case was filed against those involved in the investigation and an indictment, which was accepted by the Tarsus High Criminal Court in July 2015, seeks life sentences for Adana Chief Public Prosecutor Süleyman Bağrıyanık, former Adana Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Karaca and Adana prosecutors Aziz Takçı and Özcan Şişman, as well as Gendarmerie Commander Col. Özkan Çokay, who were all involved in the investigation. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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