After Atatürk portrait crisis, CHP now debates Baykal's support of Turkey's YPG policy
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAFeb 18, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Feb 18, 2016 12:00 am
As Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) recently settled debates on allegations of removal of a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, new debates are swirling among party administration and CHP members since the former CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal harshly criticized the party in a televised broadcast on Monday. In response, the current chairman of the CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, struck back at the senior CHP member by claiming that he has become the "lifesaver" of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). With intra-party tensions expected to fester within the CHP, the party's Vice Chairman Veli Ağbaba criticized Baykal, saying that it is unacceptable for any CHP member to side with the AK Party.
Echoing the sentiment of Ağbaba, CHP Secretary General Kamil Okyay Sındır also expressed his devoted support for Kılıçdaroğlu, showing disdain for Baykal's remarks and saying that there are no problems within the party's administration.
This is not the first time the former CHP chairman has raised criticism against Kılıçdaroğlu and party administration for poor management and a lack of initiative. He emphasized that there is an administrative issue within the CHP and that the party has crossed the same line as the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). While Baykal supported the AK Party government's shelling of PYD positions in Syria, he further noted that party members have lost hope due to the current state of the party and that taking a negative stance against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the equivalent of taking a stance against the entire state; which, he says, is wrong. In response, Kılıçdaroğlu said that he would prefer that the senior CHP figure express those concerns directly to him, repeating remarks he made on Tuesday by describing Baykal as, "a separatist who should not be taken seriously."
Intra-party debates regarding Baykal's recent remarks are expected to continue, as recent dialogue regarding allegations that a member of the CHP took down a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk persisted for weeks. Responding to those allegations, the Central Executive Committee of the CHP decided to refer its deputy, Aylin Nazlıaka, to the disciplinary committee for formal dismissal from the party. The decision was made in the wake of Nazlıaka's former allegations that a CHP deputy removed a portrait of Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, from an office wall in Parliament – a move that directly defies the convention that every deputy has a portrait of Atatürk on display in their offices. The Supreme Disciplinary Board of the CHP is scheduled to meet on Thursday, when they will make a final decision regarding the dismissal of Nazlıaka and review her plea statement.