Turkish presidency using senior figures, intelligence agents to divide opposition - CHP leader

Cliques in the Turkish presidency have been using senior state figures, including those linked to Turkish intelligence, to draw a wedge between opposition parties, Hürriyet columnist Abdülkadir Selvi quoted Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) as saying on Thursday. 

Selvi said he had asked Kılıçdaroğlu for his opinions on statements from the nationalist Good Party’s spokesman Yavuz Ağıralioğlu, who on Monday said in a television programme on CNN Turk that his party would leave the opposition alliance if the CHP continued to collaborate with the predominantly Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

The Good Party, a breakaway initiative established by defectors from the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) over concerns of its alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), pooled efforts with the CHP in presidential and parliamentary election in 2018, running as the Nation Alliance. 

The two parties continued their alliance during local polls this year in March. 

“This is an attempt by the presidency to divide the Nation Alliance, as that is what the palace wants,” Kılıçdaroğlu, said referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s presidential palace in Ankara. 

“They are using many people as intermediaries, when I say people I mean they are using some, also including the state’s intelligence agents, to ruin the Nation Alliance… I do not think this alliance will collapse,” he said.

But Kılıçdaroğlu told Selvi that Ağıralioğlu’s statements were not all together wrong and that the politician had emphasised that the Good Party and the CHP were different political parties. 

“The Good Party’s spokesman’s denouncement of terrorist organisations, him distancing (his party) from a terrorist organisation, this is one of the essential attitudes of all political parties,” he said. 

Many in Turkey, particularly nationalists, see the HDP as the political wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting inside the country for more than three decades. 

“We are not walking arm-in-arm with any of the parties. We respect whoever supports democracy. We respect whoever opposes one-man rule,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in response to Selvi’s question on the relation between the CHP and the HDP. 

“The HDP is a political party that received 6.5 million votes in Turkey. If they are doing something illegal, this country has prosecutors, an intelligence agency, they will do what is necessary,” the CHP chair said. 

Kılıçdaroğlu said that the Good Party’s leader Meral Akşener was also aware of the efforts of the presidential palace to break the opposition alliance.