Former CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu praises China and its development model

In an opinion piece, former Turkish main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has deemed China a “development machine” and said it “does not interfere in the internal affairs of other states.” His praise of China drew criticism as a former leader of a social-democrat party.

Duvar English

Former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has penned an opinion piece for the daily Cumhuriyet, praising China and its development model.

In the piece, Kılıçdaroğlu said China “does not interfere in the internal affairs of other states and even respects their governments,” and it “is the most powerful actor in Africa with its investments.”

Deeming China a “development machine” despite the lack of energy resources, Kılıçdaroğlu said the country’s universities “produce knowledge.”

“Western production giants are competing to enter the Chinese market, and China is turning this race into an advantage in the development process. This process has revealed China as an important actor in the world and thus enabled the use of the concept of ‘multipolar world’ in political language,” the social-democrat party’s former leader said.

Kılıçdaroğlu said time would tell the effect of the regime change in Afghanistan to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“We are experiencing a new war today: chip wars. The feature of this war is that it is not like the oil wars. Because you cannot change the geography where oil will be extracted… However, chips are not a natural product like oil. Therefore, we can decide where the chip will be produced,” he said.

“While China, with its population approaching 1.5 billion, turned into a development machine, Turkey could not achieve the expected development in economy and technology. For the first time in its history, China has surpassed Turkey in per capita national income (since 2018). Turkey, whose per capita national income exceeded South Korea until 1983, has fallen behind South Korea since 1983,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu then blamed “those who govern the country” for falling behind these countries. “Turkey can also make a similar leap with artificial intelligence technologies under the leadership of the public. Moreover, the cost of artificial intelligence technologies is lower than digital technologies. The main way to achieve this is for universities to produce knowledge. A society whose universities do not produce knowledge has no future.”

Kılıçdaroğlu’s praise of China drew criticism as a former leader of a social-democrat party.