Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has accused the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and its leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, of “making terror propaganda,” due to a social media post shared by CHP Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu that allegedly showed gross human rights abuse in the Koruköy village of the southeastern province of Mardin.
“If you are going to make politics, do it in a well-mannered way. I’m addressing Kılıçdaroğlu: Get your men in order so they don’t make propaganda for the terrorist organization and that they don’t provide a base for them,” Soylu said at an event held in the eastern province of Erzurum late on Feb. 23.
The Turkish government is currently conducting security operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Mardin.
“Do you [Tanrıkulu] ask what happened to our special forces police who lose their eyes and arms in the security operations? You don’t ask what happened to them while they were fighting on behalf of the nation. You don’t ask what happened to the sons of the people. You are despitefully asking what happened to the PKK terrorist organization. Who are you? We are fed up,” he said.
Declaring that the CHP should not “abuse the people,” Soylu said the people were engaging in a “great struggle.”
“It’s a struggle for independence and the future. We’ve been silent for a couple of days. The security forces found some 80-85 kilograms of explosives in the center of [the southern province of] Mersin. A center of malice in Turkey has been saying, ‘Send your sons to the mountain and Kandil.’ Whose side are you [the CHP] on?” Soylu said, referring to the Kandil Mountain in northern Iraq, where the PKK’s main headquarters and training camps are based.
During his speech, Soylu said Turkey was conducting its struggle against terror “within the borders of law.”
“I want to say this clearly. Turkey is giving a determined struggle and its carrying this struggle within the borders of democracy and the state of law. What is our purpose, why are we engaged in politics? We are doing this to tell people about the good and prevent them from coming to harm,” he said.
Tanrıkulu, meanwhile, replied to Soylu’s statements, calling him “shameless.”
“You don’t have the right to call those who confront you with your crimes as terrorists. You are shameless!” Tanrıkulu wrote on his Twitter account.
The crowd also chanted slogans in favor of the death penalty as Soylu was talking about the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt.
“When the referendum is over, what the people say will happen against the terrorist organizations and those who want to hold us back. There are no coincidences in politics. Politics is a film strip that gets longer. Only the actors change, the main issue is the same,” he said, referring to the upcoming referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted to an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the head of state.
While claiming that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a “unifying attitude,” Soylu also mentioned the jailed co-chair of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş.
“The man who is called Demirtaş calls people into the streets in order to make them fight each other,” he said.