Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
has criticized the government’s diplomatic tone for “causing distress among the Turkish community in Europe.”
His words follow the recent crisis that erupted with several European countries over the banning of Turkish ministers campaigning for a constitutional amendment.
“Those Turks who live abroad are tense. They ask whether [the European country they are in] will send them back [to Turkey]. A man who cannot even hold his tongue, cannot rule the state properly. A man who wants to govern the state well should control his words and understand the consequences of his words,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a rally in the Aegean province of Aydın on March 17.
“Businessmen from the Black Sea
have come to me and said ‘we’re selling our hazelnuts to Europe. If we fight with them, we can’t sell our product.’ Refugees who have crossed to Europe
for better living conditions are also in distress,” he added.
Turkey’s relations with several EU member countries, particularly Germany and the Netherlands, have been tense over bans on Turkish ministers campaigning abroad for the upcoming referendum on shifting the country to an executive presidential system.
Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the government’s approach to the crisis, saying it escalated tension by using “provocative language.”
“There is a need to use more careful language in foreign policy,” he said.
head also slammed the government for its policy in northern Syria, where Turkey is actively conducting the ongoing Euphrates Shield operation, saying the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) discourse is “inconsistent.”
“They say ‘we’re going to go to Raqqa, Manbij. Go then! Actually they are going to neither Raqqa nor Manbij,” he said, contrasting the current situation with the era of former CHP
leader Bülent Ecevit, during which the operation to Cyprus was conducted in 1974.
“Ecevit never said ‘we’re going to go to Cyprus.’ He made the announcement after our soldiers landed on Cyprus,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Actions speak louder than words. The statesman should speak less but stand behind his words,” he added.