CHP manifesto pledges peace, solidarity with Palestinians

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has revealed the party’s electoral manifesto, highlighting foreign policy pledges to make peace with all Turkey’s neighbours, to remove visa requirements for Palestinians, and to form a regional bloc with Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Kılıçdaroğlu also said his party would hike the minimum wage to 2,200 liras a month ($467) and the pension to 1,500 liras a month, that they would build free creches in every neighbourhood and that they would not charge interest on loans to farmers.

Turkey had five main problems that the CHP would solve, he said, listing them as the economy, education, societal tensions, foreign policy, and democracy. The most important, he emphasised, was the economy.

“Who is happy about this situation? There is only one class that is happy about it, the rentiers,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“(The AKP’s) manifesto is aimed at economic rent. Ours is aimed at people and production… We will produce knowledge, we will produce art, our industrialists will produce high added value goods.”

In foreign policy, Kılıçdaroğlu outlined plans to re-engage with Turkey’s neighbours and express solidarity with the Palestinian people, as well as cancelling a deal with Israel made in the wake of its killing of 10 Turkish activists on the aid boat Mavi Marmara as it sought to reach Gaza in 2010.

“We will make peace with all neighbours within one year,” he said.

“We will remove the need for a visa for Palestinians. There is an agreement that poisons out honour: we will cancel the Mavi Marmara agreement. We will fix our relations with the EU. We will establish a Middle East Peace and Co-operation Organisation; the founder members will be Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.”

In the realm of education, the CHP would appoint 180,000 unemployed teachers to jobs, increase their pay, and replace YÖK, the body controlling higher education, with a more liberal body, Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The CHP would end the state of emergency, take measures against corruption and the politicisation of the judiciary, introduce checks and balances on presidential power, and institute freedom of speech, religion and conscience, he added.