Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments on ‘street protests’

A comment has come from CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu about citizens who do not accept the tainted poll results protesting in the street against the Supreme Election Council (SEC). Kılıçdaroğlu has said that protesting against the SEC is a right.

19 Nisan 2017 Çarşamba, 18:35
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Republican People’s Party General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that, if recourse is denied through objection to the Supreme Election Council (SEC)’s acceptance of unstamped envelopes and voting slips, they will deem the constitutional amendment illegitimate.

The CHP leader has also declared the protests against the SEC to be a right.

Kılıçdaroğlu, replying to BBC Turkish’s questions in parliament, replied as follows to the question of what their approach will be if their applications in objection to the SEC resolutions are fruitless:

We will deem the amendment that has been made to be illegitimate. There is the European Court of Human Rights. If need be, be will take the issue that far.

They have the right to protest

Kılıçdaroğlu considered the street protests following the referendum to be a right:

‘This resolution passed by the Supreme Election Council must be protested against in all quarters. And they have the right to protest. If there is a notion of the supremacy of the law, if this resolution is very important and if this notion has universal value, nobody at all can quash this notion.

Kılıçdaroğlu laid stress on past Constitutional Court rulings:

‘There are the Constitutional Court’s cancellation rulings. On what grounds can a ruling previously passed by the Constitutional Court be amended? Because the Constitutional Court has previously passed a ruling that an election is to be cancelled if voting slips and envelopes do not have stamps, and, on top of this, in 2014. There is also clear and express wording in statute to this effect.’

‘On what grounds is a Constitutional Court ruling to be amended now? It cannot be amended. On top of this, the Supreme Election Council cannot express a view that supersedes the will of parliament.’

We will convene the party assembly and draw up a road map

To the question, ‘Presuming all means of legal recourse available to you have been exhausted, will you recognise these results?’ Kılıçdaroğlu said that, in such a case, a decision would be taken in the party and a road map drawn up:

‘Then we will sit down and convene the Party Assembly. We will assess this in all its detail and draw up a road map for ourselves. We will sit and discuss the route and methods we should follow in our competent organs.’

We knowingly restricted the Sunday announcement to the SEC

Following the referendum, on Sunday evening and Monday criticism of the CHP leadership’s approach emerged on social media from young people who had voted ‘no’.

With reference to this criticism, Kılıçdaroğlu said that these reactions ensued because the Sunday announcement was only meant to be with reference to the SEC and details were gone into at the Tuesday group meeting:

‘The announcement I made on Sunday did not satisfy young people. However, that announcement was an announcement that was predicated solely on the Supreme Election Council’s resolution. I said that the Supreme Election Council’s acceptance of unstamped voting slips and envelopes cast doubt on the legitimacy of the referendum that had been held and it was necessary to reverse that resolution. I did not broach the referendum in general.

I broached it today (Tuesday). However, those young people were expecting a more spirited announcement from me that evening. This was incorrect, because we directly targeted the SEC. Had the SEC complied with our decision and passed a resolution saying, ‘Yes, the votes will not be accepted’ that evening, and had we raised the issue of legitimacy and had ‘no’ prevailed, we would also have placed the legitimacy of that in question.

We considered all these details and wanted to restrict our announcement that evening solely to the SEC. In our announcement today (Tuesday), we broached all details of the matter in our announcement.’

It means the judges on the SEC are people who conform to the palace’s expectations

‘The resolution that the Supreme Election Council took in breach of the law above all besmirches the esteem of parliament. It is tantamount to refusing to recognise the statute enacted by parliament.

It is tantamount to refusing to recognise the ruling passed by the Constitutional Court. This strips the judges serving there of their identity as judges. It means that each of them is not an independent and impartial judge, but a person who passes decision in accordance with the palace’s expectations.’

Call for joint struggle

The ‘no’ votes in the referendum came from different groups of voters, from the left/secular base to Kurds, from ultranationalist circles to a section of urban conservatives.

‘Will the CHP renew its strategies and policies in the new landscape that has emerged?’

The CHP leader, who said in reply to this question that, ‘It most certainly must renew them,’ continued, ‘Those on the side of democracy must act in unison and through a common denominator. Media freedom is one thrust of this, supremacy of the law is one thrust and the independence of the judiciary is one thrust. On looking into it, to defend the separation of powers is to defend the esteem of parliament.

All citizens who are on the side of democracy, regardless of which political party they identified themselves with in the past or those who have no political identification, must be in unison. We need this. Not only we as the CHP, but the ordinary citizen in the street has now begun to feel this need. We must defend democracy jointly, we must strengthen democracy jointly.

We must fight jointly against people, institutions and political parties that are opposed to democracy. This will be a very important movement. A landscape of this kind is emerging for the first time in the history of our Republic. This is a very important value.’

Kılıçdaroğlu stated that, ‘The CHP, just as in its referendum campaign, will keep up its style that reaches out to different sections of society.’

‘We will stay with this language. We will use embracing language. Their own political opinions, identities or life styles may be different. We will also respect all these values. But we will embrace everyone who is prepared to revere democracy.’