Istanbul born Greek-Armenian writer, journalist and activist Hayko Bağdat condemned Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for failing to stand up for its Diyarbakır (Amed) MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who has been in the crosshairs of various pro-government media figures and politicians over his comments calling for accountability for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
“Tanrıkulu is facing a threat to his life, and the ones to fan the flames are CHP’s own administration,” Bağdat wrote in an article published on news website Artı Gerçek.
“Politics as an institution is horrifyingly wretched,” Bağdat wrote. “This cannot be explained away solely by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime making vulgarity the norm. The banality among the opposition also does great harm to society, and cements despair.”
Tanrıkulu was first targeted on a live broadcast on TV100 on Friday, when an editor for another network accused him of backing claims that the TSK had used chemical weapons in its operations against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas. The MP had submitted a parliamentary inquiry on the matter, which he joined the programme by phone to elaborate had been aimed at clearing the air, and giving the army a chance to put rumours to rest. During Tanrıkulu’s call-in, the argument escalated and the MP cited examples of rulings by top courts against the TSK, including one about 11 villagers being thrown off a military helicopter.
CHP Spokesman Faik Öztrak in response said the MP’s comments were “unacceptable”, and that the TSK was “the apple of our eye”. Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu backed Öztrak, and said the “targeting of TSK as an institution” was “never right”. Erdoğan himself also chimed in, saying Tanrıkulu would “not go unpunished”.
“The apple of our eye is Sezgin Tanrıkulu,” Bağdat wrote.
“We must protect a friend of ours who fearlessly tells the truth in the face of murderers in the depths of the state whose appetites they have whetted,” the journalist who continues his life in exile continued. “We must protect the esteem in which dignity, honour, honesty and courage stand.”
Kılıçdaroğlu “threw Sezgin Tanrıkulu of Diyarbakır to the barbarians”, Bağdat said. “But was Tanrıkulu lying?”
An excerpt from Bağdat’s article follows.
“Does [Kılıçdaroğlu] really not know what massacres and torture were committed during 40 years of conflict in the Kurdish problem? Does he really not know the severe crimes of the TSK, proven by European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings, and the compensation already paid out over them? Mr Kılıçdaroğlu, do you really not know Sezgin Tanrıkulu is telling the truth?
“I am sure you know better than all of us. So, how could you sell out your deputy who was in your innermost circle for years? How can you condemn Tanrıkulu to the darkness that Tahir Elçi, a previous chairman of the Diyarbakır Bar Association as was Tanrıkulu, was murdered in?
“You had just promised to make peace with the families of Roboski victims, who were bombed by F16s, the Kurds who were thrown off helicopters, the prisoners who were tortured behind bars. Now you stand against us, defending extenuating circumstances for murderers.
“Your comrade of long years spent his life in service of human rights, and you threw him to the lap of fascism.
“You have lost all your values to sit on that chair. You’ve walked back all promises, and sold out all those who were wronged, just to get in the good graces of the powers that be.
“The apple of your eye is the state that threw Kurds off helicopters, shot dead Hrant Dink in the middle of the street, bombed the people of Dersim with chemicals, murdered Alevis in Maraş, Çorum and Sivas.
“We must now protect Sezgin Tanrıkulu from its wrath. Because the apple of our eye is Sezgin Tanrıkulu.”