Ayala said that the whole world was following the situation in Turkey. Ayala, noting that the space for democracy and freedoms in Turkey gets narrower by the day, stressed that this situation was being followed with concern not only in Europe, but in the whole world.
Socialist International General Secretary Luis Ayala, who has come to Turkey to support CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s Justice March, visited Cumhuriyet and conveyed his messages of solidarity. Ayala, who came to Cumhuriyet in the company of Socialist International Vice President Umut Oran, spoke to Cumhuriyet Publishing Board Chair Orhan Erinç, Editor-in-Chief Bülent Özdoğan, Responsible Editor-in-Chief Faruk Eren, News Coordinator Aykut Küçükkaya, Foreign News Supervisor Mine Esen and Web Coordinator Oğuz Güven. Ayala said, ‘You are carrying out a very important task for democracy and we, the Socialist International, wish to be the voice of everyone here who is undergoing oppression.’
Ayala, noting that the last time he came to Turkey he went to visit the Cumhuriyet employees in jail but was unable to meet them, said, ‘I see their number has reached twelve and the space for democracy and freedoms in Turkey gets narrower by the day. Ayala, stressing that the situation had got even worse in the state of emergency period, pointed out that, with the civil servants and academics who had been sacked and those who had been imprisoned, at least 140,000 people were state of emergency victims. Ayala, saying, ‘Of course, everyone who really took part in the coup attempt must be investigated, but we see that many people have been wronged,’ stressed that this situation was being followed with concern not only in Europe, but in the whole world.
‘We called him called him a dictator’
Ayala, touching on the constitutional referendum held in April, said, ‘The choice between a presidential or parliamentary system is a matter for that country’s citizens to determine themselves, however, the referendum in Turkey turned into a vote for or against democracy. There can be democracy in a presidential system, but, if you eliminate the separation of powers that forms the basis of democracy, the existence of democracy can no longer be spoken of.’ The Chilean Ayala, giving the example of the General Augusto Pinochet period in his own country, stressed, ‘We had somebody who, on paper, was “president” but we called him called him a dictator. If there are no balance and control mechanisms in the system, if there is no firm separation of powers and if fundamental freedoms are not guaranteed, there exists a dictatorship not a presidency.’
Ayala, mentioning the twenty-five year sentence received by CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu in the intelligence agency lorries trial, asked, ‘How can it be a crime for an MP to ask, “Where are these arms going to from my country?” and investigate this? The people send that person there to do this anyhow. How can it be a crime for a journalist to write about this information he has obtained from an MP? This is his job. All of the basic rules of democracy are being breached in Turkey one by one. Where are the limits to this? Where will it stop?’
Cumhuriyet Publishing Board Chair Orhan Erinç, stressing that they were aware of their responsibilities as Cumhuriyet employees, said, ‘Solidarity visits of this nature and support even if from abroad increase our strength to resist and we feel a debt of gratitude towards him.’
Cumhuriyet is known in the world
Ayala, saying that ‘Coming here and conveying our support for you, encouraging you under these conditions and also being your voice in the world, and letting everyone know what you are going through is a duty and an obligation for us,’ stressed that the Socialist International would also raise the antidemocratic practices in Turkey and the demand for justice at the council meeting it would hold at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York on 11-12 July. Ayala, noting that Turkey was placed highly on the Socialist International’s agenda, said, ‘We make your situation known to the whole world and rest assured that, not only Europe, but the whole world including Africa and Latin America knows the name of Cumhuriyet and that Cumhuriyetis suffering oppression.’