CHP leader says seeking to jail all critics due to coup attempt not right

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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Monday that it is not right to try to jail all government critics by capitalizing on government decrees that have the power of law and the emergency rule that was declared following a failed military coup on July 15.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of an agreement between the Çankaya Municipality and the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions (DİSK) in Ankara on Monday, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “We don’t want a Turkey that is ruled through KHKs [government decrees having the power of law], but a democracy that abides by the Constitution, the law and the principle of supremacy of the law, and in which nobody is victimized and criminals receive a fair trial. Defending this is not my duty alone. We will never accept coup opportunism. There is the emergency rule and the KHKs; let’s put all critics in jail. This attitude is not right or credible.”

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. Despite Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Thousands of people have been purged from state bodies, over 41,000 detained and more than 22,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees included journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, businessmen, governors and even a comedian.

Turkey imposed a three-month-long emergency rule on July 21.

In his speech Kılıçdaroğlu called on everyone who opposed the coup attempt to also stand up for freedoms in the country.

“We want a Turkey in which the media is free, journalists are not jailed, artists are not sacked and scientists are not arrested [due to their critical views]. This is not my job alone to defend this. It should be the common duty of all who stood against the July 15 coup attempt,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

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