The Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul head Canan Kaftancıoğlu has declared that she has not changed her opinion supporting one of the PKK terrorist group's leaders, who was assassinated in Paris in a likely internal feud in 2013.
"I, as Canan Kaftancıoğlu, have not changed," she said late Saturday on a TV program over one of the commentators' words suggesting that Kaftancıoğlu may likely change her previous positive stance on Sakine Cansız, a founding member of the PKK. The PKK is responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people in its more than 30-year terror campaign.
Cansız, along with two other PKK members Leyla Söylemez and Fidan Doğan, was gunned down on Jan. 9, 2013 at a Kurdish information center in Paris, which in reality was functioning as a PKK bureau, by Ömer Güney. French officials at the time said Güney worked for Cansız as a driver and assistant. The murders are believed to have been the result of infighting in the organization and Cansız was known to have had several disagreements with senior PKK officials over the years. Two days after the murder, Kaftancıoğlu wrote on her Twitter account that "humanity is lost," citing one of Cansız's statements on women.
On the TV program, the commentator defended Kaftancıoğlu, saying that she could have made a mistake with her comments six years ago and the CHP now has a chance to change the perception of its proximity with pro-PKK groups. However, Kaftancıoğlu disagreed with the commentator, saying that there is no change in her opinions.
The CHP's Istanbul head has been a highly controversial figure in Turkish society for her debatable comments and actions. She has even seen serious backlash from the CHP's own voter base, but kept her seat despite serious challenges. During the campaign period of the March 31 elections, she had announced that she would be resigning from her post in reaction to the choice of mayoral candidates; however, she later withdrew her resignation. The CHP was criticized for its unofficial alliance with the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the local elections. The party refrained from officially including the HDP, which has been condemned for its close ties with the PKK, in its electoral alliance with the Good Party (İP) amid fears of a possible backlash from its secular-nationalist voter base.
Earlier this month, party chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was attacked during the funeral of Yener Kırıkçı, who was killed by PKK terrorists near the Turkey-Iraq border, in reaction to the secretive electoral alliance with the HDP.
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