Main opposition leader vows to make amends for suffering caused by the state

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (file photo)

Turkey’s main opposition leader has promised to acknowledge the injustices of the current and previous governments and make amends for the suffering they have caused various segments of society if his party comes to power in the 2023 elections, Turkish Minute reported.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was speaking during his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, only days after he posted a video on social media in which he emphasized the need in Turkey for a healing process from the mistakes of the past.

Among the people and groups listed by Kılıçdaroğlu were those who had suffered from political persecution, including thousands of Kurds who were subjected to torture in Diyarbakır’s notorious Military Prison No 5 in the 1980s and ’90s, in addition to headscarved women who were “convinced” to take off their headscarves in “persuasion rooms” at some universities after the post-modern coup of February 28, 1997, and families of victims of the Roboski massacre, Soma mine disaster and Çorlu train accident.

The incident commonly known as the Roboski massacre refers to the killing of 34 male Kurdish civilians, most of them teenagers, on Dec. 28, 2011, when Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) jets bombed them after receiving intelligence on terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Uludere district of Şırnak province near the Turkish–Iraqi border.

A total of 301 miners died in a fire inside the coal mine in the Soma district of Manisa province in May 2014. The deaths were caused by carbon monoxide spread through the mine by the fire.

In July 2018 the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, Çorlu, was the scene of a train derailment that claimed the lives of 25 people and injured 328 others. Many said the accident occurred because of the authorities’ failure to maintain the tracks, which were dislodged following heavy rain in the region.

“We will reconcile, my friends. There are still some open wounds. I know it will be hard [to do it], but we will definitely succeed,” the CHP leader said, claiming that everybody who committed a crime will get the punishment they deserve under the law.

The main opposition leader drew criticism for failing to mention victims of a massive purge carried out in Turkey by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions, summarily dismissing more than 150,000 public servants including academics, teachers, military personnel, diplomats and police officers with emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

In addition to losing their jobs, purge victims have been denied passports and according to many reports have been struggling to find jobs as they were stigmatized in a broader smear campaign.

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