Erdoğan says former CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu 'scapegoated' and 'pushed into isolation'

Turkey’s President Erdoğan has said that former CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu was “scapegoated” and “pushed into isolation” so that the CHP could collaborate with the pro-Kurdish DEM Party “controlled by the separatist (terrorist) organization.” However, Erdoğan previously accused Kılıçdaroğlu of being linked with the PKK on several occasions during the latter’s CHP leadership.

Former CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R)

Duvar English

Turkey’s President, and Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Jan. 19 argued that former Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was “pushed into isolation” during the party congress that the latter lost, so that the CHP could collaborate with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party. 

Speaking during a party meeting in Yalova province, Erdoğan said “They took the party of Gazi Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) and gave it to DEM, the party of the separatist (terrorist) organization. The first act of those who made Mr. Kemal a scapegoat and pushed him into isolation and put Özgür (Özel) in charge of the CHP was to (collaborate with) the DEM party controlled by the separatist organization. The CHP and DEM are acting together.”

“Those who engage in politics of exploitation like the CHP end up as toys in the hands of separatist parties like DEM,” he added.

However, Erdoğan also accused Kılıçdaroğlu of being supported by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on several occasions during the latter’s CHP leadership.

During the 2023 presidential election campaign, which Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu were running, Erdoğan displayed a montage video during a rally, depicting as if PKK executives were singing Kılıçdaroğlu’s election song.

Erdoğan also commented on Can Atalay, Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) deputy kept in prison, and said “This mentality is (trying) to release members of terrorist organizations from prisons in order to bring a politician who was sentenced to 18 years in prison to the Parliament. They left no principle untouched in order to get more votes.”

In response, Kılıçdaroğlu said in a post that his loneliness “is in the fight against gang of five,” referring to five construction companies that have close ties to the ruling AKP. 

Kılıçdaroğlu then reminded Erdoğan of soaring living costs and said the cost of three meals per day for a family of three was 12,699 liras ($420) in a month. 

The Turkish government and its allies have been building a discourse alienating opposition parties by accusing them of “aligning with terrorist organizations,” which heightened especially during the 2023 elections. Turkey will hold local elections on March 31, 2024.