Turkish NGOs criticise main opposition CHP for supporting Syria offensive

Several non-governmental organizations said on Tuesday the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP)'s approval for Turkish incursion in Syria was against the principles of the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, independent news site T24 reported.

The CHP voted in favour of a resolution that authorised Turkish troops to enter northern Syria, clearing the way for the launch of Turkey's Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9. By approving the military operation, the main opposition party had sided with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s chauvinist, expansionist and polarising policies, seven Turkish NGOs said in a joint statement.

The NGOs, which include conservative and left-wing political platforms as well as civil society organisations, said the cross-border offensive contradicted Atatürk’s famous slogan “peace at home, peace in the world,” a saying widely interpreted as the republic founder’s call for foreign and domestic policies focused on stability and ensuring peace.

"This policy has paved the way for the AKP's plan to consolidate the one-man regime that disintegrated the Turkish Grand National Assembly by breaking down the forces of peace and democracy," the statement said.

The CHP followed a similar path when it voted in favour of legislation that allowed the lifting of parliamentary immunity in 2016, at the height of the government’s repression of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), according to the statement. The move led to the prosecution and imprisonment of 11 Kurdish deputies, including HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, on terrorism charges. "The government, which aims to attack the democracy alliance by declaring the HDP and all the people of the region as terrorists, and those who want peace as traitors, has been strengthened with the approval given to the motion," the statement said.

The statement was signed by the Union for Democracy, Democratic Islam Congress, Dialogue Group, East and Southeast Foundations Platform, Rights and Justice Platform, Justice for Victims Platform and Citizen Initiative.