Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has accused the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of staging its own coup by arresting writers, journalists and military officers in a crackdown launched after a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15, which claimed the lives of 240 people and injured a thousand others. The Turkish government, which launched a post-coup purge, has so far detained 82,000 people and arrested 35,000 others over coup charges. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors, housewives and even a comedian.
“They [the government] are putting journalists in jail. What did the journalists do? Did they kill someone or injure someone? [Writer] Necmiye Alpay was in jail during Sept.12 [1980 military coup]. She is in jail again today. [Jailed] Aslı Erdoğan is a writer who has an international reputation. The AKP staged the coup, it has jailed journalists, writers and military officers,” said Kılıçdaroğlu, speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.
Bahçeli, let’s make Erdoğan a king
In his speech Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for giving support to a switch to a presidential system in Turkey, a long-standing aspiration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“I’m appealing to Mr. Bahçeli. Let’s make him [Erdoğan] a king. Let’s allow him do whatever he wants. Let’s establish a TV channel on which he will appear 24 hours a day. Let’s get rid of this trouble together,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Two weeks ago Bahçeli sparked a fresh debate over the introduction of an executive presidency in Turkey when he said there was a de facto situation in Turkey concerning its style of governance and that President Erdoğan was already acting like an executive president even though his post is largely ceremonial. Bahçeli said the situation needed to be resolved.
Bahçeli’s remarks were interpreted as supporting a switch to an executive presidency while AKP government officials have said they will bring a proposal concerning the change to an executive presidency to Parliament in January and present it in a referendum in April.
The post of the president is largely ceremonial in Turkey; however, President Erdoğan has been acting as an executive president since his election to the top state post in August 2014. Erdoğan is a strong supporter of a switch to the presidential system. Yet, critics say Erdoğan wants a “Turkish style” executive presidency without checks and balances, one that is aimed at creating one-man rule.