Turkey’s main opposition has called for a total struggle against a draft bill aimed at restructuring the two top courts of Turkey, while raising warnings about increasing polarization in the country.
“The structural change of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State is equal to a change of the layout of Turkey,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said at a meeting of his Central Executive Board (MYK) on June 15.
The 38 article-draft that would restructure the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State was recently introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the Parliament Speaker’s Office with plans to pass it through the legislature before parliament goes to recess at the end of June.
The draft has resulted in irritation in the high judiciary, with some members of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State considering resignation in protest at what they say is an unconstitutional proposal.
“This package would pave the way to all kinds of unlawfulness. If this passes into law, then there will be no media, no institution of politics and no MPs left in Turkey. From that point and on, it will be possible to engage in all kinds of unlawfulness. It’s not just our parliamentary group, but bar unions, legists, all women’s associations and the business world should altogether object to this package,” Kılıçdaroğlu was quoted as saying at the MYK meeting by sources from the party.
“After this regulation, everyone who isn’t a partisan [of the government] will perish. Our friends should react to this matter instead of the [lifting of the legislative] immunity issue because this is a far more important matter,” he said.
“The target isn’t ‘the parallel structure;’ the target is everyone who is not like them, including the MHP [the Nationalist Movement Party], the HDP [the Peoples’ Democratic Party] and the CHP. All political parties should object to this matter in unison. Even members of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] should object to this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
At the same meeting, the CHP leader also touched upon the growing polarization in the country, days after a bullet was thrown at him during a funeral ceremony.
“Turkey is being forced to take a step back. They’re attacking us because we’re not accepting the presidential system. We will resist to the end. They will attack and besmirch us as long as we resist. Everyone should be prepared,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, in an apparent reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aspiration to transition to a presidential system from the current parliamentary system.
“The attacks will become more frequent. They targeted our 24 MPs saying ‘They visited the terrorists.’ I am clearly stating that there could even be political murders in this period. Yet, our friends did not visit anyone,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The only people they visited [in prison] were journalist Can Dündar and Erdem Gül and some other academics under arrest. These people are shown as ‘members of terror organizations,’ and [the government] is defaming our MPs. If we take a step back now, then Turkey will step back as well. We will risk death, but we will never buckle. If all the party members believe in this, then Turkey will not surrender, or else, our mothers’ breast milk and the bread we eat are ill-gotten. This is not a struggle for power, this is a struggle for independence,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu was subjected to attacks and protests during an appearance at the funerals of police officers killed in recent terror attacks in the country.
İrfan Cengiz, 38, threw a bullet at him during a funeral for police victims of a car bomb attack in Istanbul’s Vezneciler neighborhood on June 7.