As part of the party election campaign, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has been harshly criticized by both politicians and academics for promising to send Syrian refugees back to their country. A political scientist at Anadolu University, Mustafa Altunoğlu, described Kılıçdaroğlu's pledge to send the nearly 2 million Syrian refugees, who fled the civil war, back to their country if the CHP comes to power after the June 7 general elections as the real tragedy. In comments to Daily Sabah, Altunoğlu said: "While social democrat parties must represent a position in the favor of migrants, the CHP has once more reiterated that it uses its social democrat stance as a subsidiary element."
In efforts to gain more votes with a little over one month left until the general elections, Kılıçdaroğlu has repeatedly promised to send Syrian refugees back to their country as part of the party's election manifesto. In this regard, Cemalettin Kani Torun, the Turkish ambassador to Somalia Federal Republic from 2011-2014 and the former chairman of Doctors Worldwide, harshly criticized Kılıçdaroğlu's comments in an interview with a Turkish daily on Friday. Torun said: "Kılıçdaroğlu's statements are in line with xenophobic remarks made by political parties in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and France as it is also united with the racist and xenophobic statements that are widespread in European parties." Commenting on Kılıçdaroğlu's promise to bring peace back to the Middle East, Altunoğlu claimed that the CHP's only concern is "to get rid of the refugees as soon as possible, however it does not provide a perspective that aims toward the tragedy in which refugees are facing." He asked: "So how would the CHP bring peace to the entire Middle East and Syria?"Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also criticized Kılıçdaroğlu on Tuesday in the northeastern city of Artvin and said that his remarks are reminisces of xenophobic statements that have been widespread in European countries. Altunoğlu said that Kılıçdaroğlu's stance as a democrat is highly problematic. He continued by adding: "Although some citizens complain of the high number of refugees, Kılıçdaroğlu uses this issue as a way to corner the ruling government and gain votes for the elections. I believe that is the most tragic side to situation.
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