Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said they are not going to accept one-man rule at the conclusion on Tuesday of a justice congress organized by the CHP to raise the voices of people seeking justice.
Kılıçdaroğlu drew attention to a free media, freedom of 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 the media. People joined in and told us about the injustices they have experienced. Turkey can no longer tolerate such injustice. The April 16 referendum and constitutional amendments are not legitimate. One-man rule has not lasted long anywhere. It has no examples in our history. We will not accept it.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan vastly increased his presidential powers after a referendum on April 16, claiming that it is necessary to protect Turkey from its domestic and foreign enemies. The constitutional amendments proposed in the referendum transformed Turkey from a parliamentary democracy to a presidential system.
Underlining the critical role of the law in a democratic country, Kılıçdaroğlu said they defined their objectives during the justice congress as supporting the rights of those seeking democracy and justice.
The justice congress demanded the release of jailed CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, and workshops and panel discussions were held to discuss justice, elections, religion, education and the state in today’s Turkey.
Earlier Kılıçdaroğlu had led a “justice march” and a “justice rally” after Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 on charges of providing the Cumhuriyet daily with a video purporting to show Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) sending trucks loaded with weapons to Syria.
According to Kılıçdaroğlu, 73 percent of Turkey’s 80 million people 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 participating in the poll said “no” to the question “Do you believe a just decision would be made if you were to go to court for some reason?”
Slamming government decrees issued as part of a state of emergency declared after a failed coup last year, the CHP leader said there are 668 children in Turkish prisons as their mothers were jailed as part of a government crackdown on dissent.
“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 to because they prohibit you from seeking your rights,” he said.