Ankara, October 14, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has defended his criticism of injustices committed during the Turkish government’s sweeping post-coup attempt measures, saying “he has spent his whole life struggling for democracy and human rights … and against the [Fethullahist Terror Organization] FETÖ.”
“They call me a FETÖ supporter. I’ve spent my whole life struggling against FETÖ. I’ve spent my life struggling for human rights and democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Oct. 12 in a meeting with the relatives of people who say they are innocent victims of the crackdown.
His comments came after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım accused him of supporting FETÖ – referring to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, said to be behind the coup attempt – by emphasizing rights violations in the aftermath of the coup plot.
“Mr. Binali has said, ‘do not agitate based on victimhood’ … They say there are no victims. But a 15-day old child has been separated from his mother. If you separate a 15-day old from their mother, you create a victim,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in response.
The CHP does not want the trials of guilty individuals to be stopped, but the post-coup attempt investigations are failing to follow the principles of presumption of innocence and individual criminal responsibility, he added.
“A teacher wakes up one day and finds out he has been dismissed from his public service position by a decree law. He was imprisoned, his bank account was seized, and he was diseased from his house. On what grounds? Is there a court decision? No. The wife of this teacher now looks for a job to support her family, but nobody gives her a job. Do they want their children to die of hunger?” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“One parliamentary representative told me ‘they may eat the roots of the trees.’ Listen to the voice of your conscience. Crime is an individual act. If a person commits a crime, their spouse and their children are not also guilty,” he added.