ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily News)—Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has reprimanded both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for allegedly siding with other countries whenever their relations with the government of Turkey deteriorate.
“The HDP co-chair’s statement delivered in Russia suggesting that ‘Turkey shooting down the Russian airplane was wrong,’ was exactly scandalous and exactly treason. During a process when Russian airplanes have been bombing innocent Turkmens, innocent Arabs and innocent Kurds in Azaz, Aleppo, Idlib and Bayirbucak, running to Russia and declaring support is openly betraying the nation. This is naked carelessness,” Davutgğlu said on Dec. 24, referring to HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas’s recent remarks.
“We criticized the actions of the government when the Russian plane was shot down,” Demirtas was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that took place in Moscow on Dec. 23.
Demirtas became the first high-profile Turkish figure to visit Moscow since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Turkish-Syrian border on Nov. 24. The incident sparked the biggest crisis in ties between Moscow and Ankara since the end of the Cold War and saw Moscow introduce a raft of economic sanctions against Turkey.
While recalling how the CHP sent delegations to Egypt and Syria during times of heightened tensions in their relations with Turkey, Davutoglu also touched upon remarks reportedly delivered by a deputy of the CHP, who allegedly said Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants had delivered deadly sarin gas to Syria through Turkey.
“Unfortunately, the CHP leader [Kemal Kilicdaroglu] and administration hasn’t shown the sufficient reaction to these remarks, which were open treason and an insult that harmed Turkey’s reputation. On the contrary, Mr. Kilicdaroglu said, ‘We will not let this lawmaker be sacrificed.’” Davutoglu said. “Such a lawmaker befits you,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) swiftly and fiercely reacted against Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s charge of “treason” against them on the grounds they had not sided with his government’s view concerning recent tension between Ankara and Moscow, calling the prime minister’s stance “unacceptable and inconsistent.”
“Mr. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s remarks concerning diplomatic meetings that were held in Moscow by our co-leader, Selahattin Demirtas and the accompanying delegation as saying the HDP co-chair’s statement delivered in Russia… ‘was exactly scandalous and exactly treason,’ absolutely cannot be accepted,” the HDP said in a written statement released on Dec. 24.
While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s ongoing contacts with the Russian government were not considered “treason,” the HDP’s meeting with the Russian government was considered “treason,” and this was “inconsistent to say the least,” the HDP said.
HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen also lambasted Davutoglu’s portrayal of the matter.
“The entire world knows how our Foreign Minister [Mevlut Cavusoglu] endeavored to meet [Russian Foreign Minister] Lavrov. We know how our President [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] strived to meet [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. Officials said ‘We would not have downed the jet if we knew it had belonged to Russia’ right after the incident. So, there is awareness that something’s wrong. The fact that similar remarks delivered by our co-chair were associated with ‘treason’ reminds us that this country declared war against us through newspapers’ front-pages and we haven’t even noticed it. You can’t follow a foreign policy with an understanding such as ‘If someone gets to meet Lavrov, that should only be us,’” Bilgen told reporters on Dec. 24.