Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has questioned President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on why his government failed to deny on time a request by the European Union’s Operation Irini to inspect a Turkish civilian vessel in international waters, which has caused a rift between Ankara and Brussels.
“I asked this question a couple of days ago, but I haven’t received any reply. So I’m asking again: Why didn’t you respond the call for the inspection on time? Why they [the EU] could not reach the government for five hours?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked, speaking to reporters during a visit to Gültekin Uysal, the head of the Democrat Party, on Dec. 3.
A German frigate stopped the Turkish commercial vessel bound for Libya after a Greek commander serving as the deputy official of the Italy-led EU Irini Operation on suspicion that it was carrying military equipment to Libya in violation of a U.N. arms embargo. They did not find anything illegal on the ship, while the inspection angered Ankara. The EU said they sought permission from Ankara for the inspection, but they could not get any answer for five hours which was interpreted as a go-ahead.
“For Erdoğan, this is not a problem,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
There is no problem in Turkey in the eyes of Erdoğan, the CHP leader claimed. “For him the shopkeepers have no problem. The farmers, the industrialists, the people in the streets have no problems at all. Because he has no problem at his presidential palace, he thinks there is no problem in the country either.”
On the ongoing discussion about the sale of a military factory to Qatar after a CHP MP harshly slammed the government, the CHP leader has criticized the chief of General Staff for expressing his views about the political rift.
“It’s not right for the chief of General Staff to speak about a political matter,” he said.