Rifat BAŞARAN - ANKARA
Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
has called on the government to reveal the political wing of the July 2016 coup attempt, accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of reluctance in revealing names of party members who used an application allegedly used by the coup plotters.
“[They should] publicly disclose the ByLock lists. If Fetullahism is a crime, why are these lists kept secret? It should be explained immediately,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet in an interview on March 18.
ByLock, an encrypted messaging application that is said to have been used by members of the Gülen Movement under U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of orchestrating the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, has been cited as prime evidence of links to Gülen and the coup plot.
“It is a crime not to disclose it. This is what we want. The ruling party, which says it is fighting against Fethullah [Gülen], does not disclose the lists of ByLock users. Why is that? How many lawmakers who use ByLock do they have? 100? 150 or 180? That is why they are not disclosing it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Criticizing the extent of the crackdown against the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which has reached teachers, local governors and business leaders but not politicians, Kılıçdaroğlu asked, “Why is there no political pillar?”
“Who embedded them in the state? Who let them establish a parallel state? Just look at the signatures of the appointment lists in the Official Gazette, then you see whose names are there,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also called on public prosecutors to press the issue, asking them to “be brave.”
“Prosecutors need to be more courageous to uncover the political pillars of the parallel state structure by protecting the principles of the republic. When the prosecutors do their job, it is then that Turkey will fight against the Gülenist organization,” he added.
‘No’ means ‘stay in the constitutional framework’
Evaluating the ongoing constitutional amendment process, Kılıçdaroğlu stated that the “no” vote in the referendum will give a message to the current government to “abandon the de facto situation.”
“If the ‘no’ vote prevails, everybody will return to the [current] constitutional boundaries,” he said.
He also criticized the Prime Ministry over the current “de facto situation,” saying it was demonstrating a “low profile” as Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım “was not doing anything outside of the instructions of the president.”
“If the ‘no’ votes prevail, this low profile should not continue,” he said.
Reiterating his earlier criticism of the article in the proposed charter amendments to reduce the minimum age to be elected to 18, Kılıçdaroğlu said he was not against the reduction but found the move unnecessary.
“If he says the 18-year-old children of a butcher or greengrocer can be a lawmaker, that’s fine. [In the current constitution], the minimum age to be elected is 25. Are there any lawmakers who are 25? Just one?
Why not? We are not against the [change]. Eighteen-year-old kids want a job. There are 6.5 million unemployed people. Are you finding jobs for them? They are setting a trap against the youth to make them say ‘yes,’” he added. Referendum conditions unequal
Kılıçdaroğlu said the campaign for the two camps had been carried out in unequal circumstances since the government was using public resources to campaign for the constitutional referendum.
“They are using the cars, planes, money and TV stations of the state. We are trying to explain to the public why they have to say ‘no’ with our own means,” he said.
Venice Commission warns about ‘presidency’
Evaluating the Venice Commission’s recent opinion on the constitutional amendment charter, Kılıçdaroğlu said the commission duly indicated that a “one-person regime” was on the way.
“The commission says the constitutional amendment paves the way for an authoritarian administration. That is right. The government also says ‘one man,’” he said.
Referring to the earlier words of Yıldırım, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “He finally admitted it. They are cunning people thinking that if they say the presidency, people would not vote. He said there will not be a prime minister, there will be a president from now on, because we are bringing the presidency. That is exactly what I am saying and what the Venice Commission is saying,” he said.