Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed the physical attack on CHP MP Özgür Özel in the parliament, saying that the party “will not back down” to keep the democracy alive despite the increasing oppression on it.MHP deputy throws punch at CHP MP Özel as tensions run high over Berberoğlu's expulsion from parliament
“Attacks and oppression on the CHP will increase, but they should also know this. Whichever oppression the CHP is exposed to, it will not back down. This does not exist in its nature or history. We will continue with determination on the path which we believe in. Our struggle with regards to democracy is a struggle that is really to be praised,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Kılıçdaroğlu made the comments on June 10 during a videoconference meeting held with CHP deputies.
The chairman's comments came after a deputy from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the coalition partner of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), threw a punch at CHP group deputy chair Özel at the parliament on June 9.
The incident occurred shortly after the CHP protested the removal of the parliamentary status of Enis Berberoğlu by deliberately slowing down a voting process at the parliament.Jailed CHP MP stripped of parliamentary status transferred to house arrest amid COVID-19 measures
Upon this protest, the AKP tried to block CHP deputies from holding a speech, which led to an argument and consequently a brief recess at the parliament. It was at this point that MHP deputy Olcay Kılavuz attempted to punch Özel from behind.
Kılıçdaroğlu said that the incident was a result of the government and its ally MHP not being able to take criticism in a healthy way and instead utilizing brute force to subjugate others.
“We have been told that the parliament will open today with an apology. We have entered a period in which [the rulership] is unable to tolerate criticism, cannot digest democracy, is incapable to express its thoughts in the face of criticism and is trying to silence its opponent by using brute force. This is sad but truth,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.