58 organizations throw support behind CHP MP Tanrıkulu after being targeted

58 organizations in Turkey have thrown their support behind main opposition CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu after he was being targeted over his remarks on the Turkish military. Tanrıkulu said the Turkish military once “threw 15 villagers out of a helicopter” and the incident was confirmed by the ECHR.

Duvar English

58 organizations in Turkey have issued a statement of support titled “Sezgin Tanrıkulu is Not Alone” for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker after he was being targeted over his remarks on the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The organizations reminded that there is no institution, organization or person exempt from criticism, control and accountability in democracies. 

“The duty of the members of parliament is to inspect the institutions and organizations of the state on behalf of the nation, and to criticize them and explain to the nation any crimes, mistakes and deficiencies. Sezgin Tanrıkulu fulfilled his duty when he said, 'The TSK is not free from criticism’,” they said.

“In a country that has suffered greatly from the military coups, stating that some units commit crimes against the public, citizens and human rights, all of which have been proven by documents and judicial decisions, is not 'slandering the army' but fulfilling one's civic duty to prevent such crimes from being committed. While we declare that we stand behind Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who was lynched for his words of criticism and warning based on facts that cannot be legally considered a crime, (whereas his remarks are) binding and definitive decisions of the ECHR and the Constitutional Court, we would like to remind you that those who oppose him, accuse him and withhold their support have nothing left to say in the name of democracy and civil politics,” they added.

For the names of the organizations that signed the statement, click here.

What has happened?

Tanrıkulu on Sept. 8 stated on a live TV broadcast that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) once “threw 15 villagers out of a helicopter” and the incident was confirmed by the ECHR.

“Isn't this the Turkish Armed Forces that carried out the fascist coup on September 12 (1980)? Isn't this the army that attempted a coup on July 15 (2015), burned villages. (there are) dozens of unsolved murders. There are cases that I follow. Isn't it the TSK that throws 15 villagers out of the helicopter? Confirmed by the decision of the ECHR,” the 60-year-old lawmaker stated.

His remarks drew huge attention as his party criticized the remarks in question, whereas the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on Sept. 9 launched an investigation into him on the alleged charges of “Degrading the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the Institutions and Organs of the State” and “inciting the people to hatred and enmity.”

Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç on Sept. 14 stated that the prosecutor's office has been given permission to investigate Tanrıkulu. “In the next period, our President (Erdoğan) will send (the summary of proceedings against Tanrıkulu) to the Parliament,” Tunç said.