CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu responded to President Tayyip Erdoğan’s words, “We are in the same ship,” by saying, “It is true that we are all in the same ship, all well and good, there is a single captain, a single mechanic, a single chief engineer and a single steward. The ship is heading straight for the rocks.” Noting that the elections were held early because there was knowledge of what was happening in the economy, Kılıçdaroğlu said an extraordinary congress could not convene for lack of sufficient signatures but the delegates’ signatures would be taken into consideration.
Comments on recent developments by Kılıçdaroğlu, who came together with newspaper and TV station’s Ankara representatives, were as follow:
-Reveal those who have gained from the dollar: Who are these people who bought the dollar while it was low and exchanged the dollar when it was seven lira? All of this is at the Central Bank, the Banks Association of Turkey and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority. Since the figures are stated in total, I cannot say so-and-so gained or so-and-so lost on an individual basis. I want the government to announce this. There are similarly motorway and bridge tolls. Indexed to the dollar. These people have also made good earnings. It is very clear who has lost. The worker, civil servant, farmer and industrialist have lost.
-He cannot reveal those who made a killing: Hot money comes for speculative purposes, makes a killing and goes. Erdoğan must reveal this. Can Erdoğan reveal this? No, he cannot. A large portion of those who made the killing are in fact his own cronies.
-They knew it would be seven lira: Everyone knew the dollar would be seven lira and was talking of this. The pastor affair has brought the crisis forward, that is all, otherwise it is not a matter relating to the pastor. It is far more deep-rooted matter. Erdoğan knew full well that the crisis was coming, too. Why did he bring the elections forward? Because of the crisis. If politicians know, the civil service knows, too. Small business people knew this as well. Everyone knew this. It is impossible for the Central Bank, Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority and the political machinery not to have known.
-Did the pastor tell you to get into debt?: By bringing the pastor crisis to the fore, the government wants in a sense to conceal its own incompetence and imprudence. Did the pastor tell you to take on so much debt? Did Trump tell you to take on so much debt?
-We will lend support on condition of democratisation: There are two organs that will solve the crisis: the legislative organ and the executive organ. Erdoğan will do as he pleases. Is he to economise, issue a circular or intervene at the Central Bank? That is his business. Turkey’s normalisation, democracy, international standards for the Court of Account and setting taxes are legislative matters. We will support every law enacted to this end. If they are going to introduce judicial independence, we will lend support. The Court of Account and converting public tenders into Turkish lira. We will give support of all kinds to all measures relating to the supremacy of the law and legal certainty.
There has been no government as imprudent as this government. They have swept under the carpet before everyone’s eyes an event that everyone saw and guessed the future of. They have not raised their voices to the extent they have made killings.
- Erdoğan is in a bind and is looking for friends: We want relations with the EU to develop and sit on a sounder basis. This will not happen by saying, “Let’s get on well;” the standards accepted by the union must be brought to Turkey. Judicial independence, combatting terror, conducting elections independently. Erdoğan is in a bind and is looking for friends for himself. Will it be China, perhaps, or Qatar? Be sure, I do not know the reason the Emir of Qatar came. There are certain thoughts in my mind but it is not correct to speak them.
-Let trade unions lock their doors: The Turkish Industry and Business Association and Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey have made an announcement for the first time. Trade unions’ mouths are taped over. The bill will be made out to you. They are waiting like sacrificial sheep. The responsible party for this affair is not the small businessman, worker or farmer. We speak in place of the worker, labourer and farmer but, in that case, let those bodies lock their doors. Nobody, trade unions and workers’ associations, who should normally be reacting, can speak out of fear.
-Dictatorial rule: There is dictatorial rule in Turkey today. We also have a dictator over us. The trade unionist cannot speak in a place where there is a dictator. The Turkish Industry and Business Association tried to say a thing or two and they threatened the man. What is going on out there is a political crisis. It is true that we are all in the same ship, all well and good, there is a single captain, a single mechanic, a single chief engineer and a single steward. We say pull the ship into the harbour, friend. The ship is heading straight for the rocks. One person’s mind has become Turkey’s shared mind. One person is the people. And we say to that person that he is illegitimate.
-We could not have boycotted the elections: There is a party state. There is one person at its head. He says, “The legislature and judiciary are mine and price inquiries will be directed to me. I will determine all of these in their entirety.” We have not considered the elections held in this environment including the referendum to be legitimate. If you do not consider them legitimate, why did you contest the elections? We did not consider the 82 Constitution legitimate, either, but we had to contest the elections. We must wage that struggle. Be it collective bargaining or if a march, so be it.
I do not think that the local elections will brought forward. We wish for the local elections to be held on time.
-For as long as the judiciary is not independent: I think Turkey will experience these kinds of problems for as long as the judiciary does not support justice in a country in which there is no judicial independence. The affair is not the affair of a pastor. Merkel asked and they handed him over just like that. The indictment was drafted in one night. He was handed another court’s release order but Deniz Yücel got on a plane and went. Macron and Putin asked and they handed them over. There is a mutual obstinacy between Erdoğan and Trump. And Turkey is paying the price for this mutual obstinacy. What will happen if they release him? Let us say they have released him tomorrow. Will the dollar fall to two lira? No. Our financing requirements over this year are 240 billion dollars.
-Two tight-rope artists on one rope: We are experiencing total chaos, actually. Everything has been surrendered to a single person. This is so with Trump, and is so with this one. Two tight-rope artists are performing on one rope. They are staking their all against one another. You must take stock of and size up your rival. You need to be of the same weight. You need to be on your guard accordingly.
Congress debate has ended
I listened most attentively to requests for the congress to convene. Whenever anything arrived at headquarters there was a session and perfectly clear announcements were made. They spoke of different figures, the figures calling for a congress, but we opened the figures coming to us under the media’s supervision and said that those party members who wished to could look. I think that debate ended there. We are preparing for the local elections.
-A rule book congress would not be correct: I do not want to encumber delegates’ wills. A rule book congress will convene if need be. I do not deem it correct to start a signature campaign for the convening of a rule book congress while heading towards the local elections.
Muharrem İnce is in the CHP, not another party. And Mr İnce, as a party member, will work for the party’s mayors to win. It is not correct for me alone to decide on Mr İnce’s future. I initially need to find out what Mr İnce’s expectation is.
-We will take Istanbul: We will take Istanbul. We will take Ankara, too. İstanbul, Ankara, Balıkesir, Antalya, Mersin. Adana and Uşak. We will take these places. We can take Istanbul with somebody having a success story behind them. I do not know if Mr İnce wants Istanbul. I am entertaining no such thought. I also said it about the presidential contest. Let us not be unfair to Mr İnce. The performance he displayed in the presidential election was praiseworthy.
-They safeguarded the ballot boxes: In some places we got MPs with 35-40 votes, sometimes 100 votes. I mean, if we had not been at the ballot boxes and safeguarded the ballot boxes would we have been able to do so? This struggle was waged and I truly thank the organisation.
-Alliance in the provinces not at headquarters: There is a peculiarity of local government such that unity in the provinces is far more important than its presence at headquarters. The local candidate is important. I think seeking an alliance is very hard, for the headquarters to come together. They may come together but I think that such a development is very hard politically.
-We will set up ballot boxes in the organisation: In selecting local government candidates there are certain places where we have fixed on the mayoral candidate as of today. This is certain today. These are places where we do not have our mayoral candidate. We tell the organisation to choose people who have the potential to win and have resonance among the people. There are places where there is more than one candidate. In this case, we say to the organisation we will conduct a poll and if need be there will be consultation as to preferences. We will set up ballot boxes in the organisation inquiring who they wish to see. It can also be done through pre-elections.
Second candidate in Ankara: There is more than one candidate for Ankara just now. It will be dealt with. We will hold a public opinion poll over them.
Berberoğlu and Erdem should be released
We keep on speaking of democracy, human rights and MPs’ immunity. Enis Berberoğlu and Eren Erdem being behind bars is a smear on democracy. It is an instance of failing to recognise an MP’s immunity. We hope that Chamber 17 of the Court of Cassation will comply with the supremacy of the law and take this measure. The judiciary must protect its own esteem. Recourse will be made to the Constitutional Court if he does not come out.