Turkish opposition leader accuses gov’t of seeking state of emergency

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sought to have CHP members take to the streets in protests so as to declare another state of emergency by changing a number of laws.

“They seek to silence everybody with an oppressive understanding of governance,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Sözcü. “They are thus (looking to) declaring a more oppressive State of Emergency and (achieve) an administration that nobody can object to.”

The opposition leader also spoke about recent discussions on election laws, which he said were a plot against democracy geared towards hindering the two AKP breakaway political groups, DEVA and Future parties, founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former allies, former economy minister Ali Babacan and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, respectively.

The AKP is preparing a new law dubbed the ethics in politics act, as well as an amendment to Turkey’s political parties act. The former will aim to stop “haggling over deputies,” as an official from AKP’s coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party said, by restricting parliamentarians’ ability to resign from one party to sign up to another. The latter would change Turkey’s electoral districts to resemble a single-district system similar to the one used in the United Kingdom.

“It is our duty to dismantle this plot,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that the true goal was to prevent CHP deputies from giving support to the two parties so they could enter the next elections, currently scheduled for 2023.

“Erdoğan is on his way out,” he continued. “When a government sees that it is on the way out and seeks to stop that with methods outside of the law and democracy, that is harmful.”

The president has become “a burden on our country in the areas of democracy, economy, political ethics, and squandering.”

Kılıçdaroğlu called for the lowering of Turkey’s election threshold of 10 percent, saying that no other country had one that was as high.

“Whether it would be seven, five, three, or one – It must be lowered,” he said.

The opposition leader also called for primaries, saying, “Party leaders should not determine parliamentary candidates. The nation should.”