Turkish main opposition asks Islamic world to embrace secularism


Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu speaks at the Turkish Parliament on Jan. 13. AA Photo

Turkey’s main opposition party has called on Islamic countries to adopt secularism in order to end the roots of terrorism, denouncing last week’s deadly Paris attacks and stressing that “killing innocent people has nothing to do with Islam.”

“We are calling on the entire Islamic world: Please adopt secularism. It was described as sacrilege until yesterday, but secularism is the assurance of all faiths; it means no political interventions on people’s religions,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told his parliamentary group on Jan. 13.

“Secularism is the antidote to terror,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

The CHP head said the attacks against satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo revealed once again the importance of secularism, recalling that Turkey’s prominent role among Muslim countries was because of its secular state tradition brought about by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.

“Killing innocent people is not Islam and we strongly condemn this attack, just like the enter contemporary world does,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, stating that Islam is a “religion of peace.”

He underlined that the fight against terrorism is no longer an issue countries can deal with alone, but is an international problem requiring co-operation.

Strongly criticizing the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) foreign policy, Kılıçdaroğlu argued that extremist jihadists have become Turkey’s neighbors as a result of the government’s mistaken policies.

“We warned the government; not once, not twice, not three times: If you follow such policies, terrorist organizations will become your neighbors. If you follow such policies, Turkey will pay the price,” he said, also claiming that Turkey had supplied weapons to these groups along with “main sponsor” Qatar.

The government has long been meddling in the internal policies of Syria, Iraq and Egypt, and this policy has resulted in Turkey’s “precious loneliness,” citing some government officials who had used this description while trying to respond to criticism that Turkey was isolated from its allies.

Addressing Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, he suggested that the government had followed reckless policies in the Middle East.

“He should ask himself: ‘Why am I being criticized?’ This terrorist organization called ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] is designated as a terrorist organization everywhere in the world, except by one person, one government and one party: The AKP. Why don’t you designate it as one too?” Kılıçdaroğlu added.



About CHP EU Representation

The CHP was founded on 9 September 1923, about one and half month before the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. The first President of modern Turkey’s oldest party was M. Kemal Atatürk. Today CHP is a social-democratic party, member of the Socialist International and associate member of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament. The scope of the CHP bureau in Brussels is not limited to the bilateral framework of Turkey's EU accession process. Issues such as the information society, energy policies, social development, climate change, international trade and security are among the different focus areas. The EU-Turkey relations are about integration and need multiple, plural and horizontal channels of communication. The CHP supports and promotes Turkey's EU membership process also by being more present and active in Brussels The CHP's Representative to the EU is Ms Kader Sevinç who previously worked as an MEP advisor at the European Parliament and in the private sector.
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