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Can Atalay case and Party Strategies in Turkish Politics

If every event must have a turning point, the milestone for the non-release of Can Atalay, who gained immunity by being elected as a deputy, and the subsequent dropping of his membership in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM), dates back to the vote to lift immunities in the TBMM in May 2016. On that day, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the then-leader of the CHP, said, “Although it is against the Constitution, we will vote ‘yes.'”

Now, the main opposition, which ostensibly defends the Constitution, trampled it that day and Selahattin Demirtaş and his colleagues were arrested and sent to prison six months later. Today, the CHP is the primary responsible party for the imprisoned Kurdish politicians, having violated Article 83 of the Constitution: “A deputy who is alleged to have committed a crime before or after the election cannot be detained, interrogated, arrested, or tried without the decision of the Assembly.”

The only reason for the current grumbling of those responsible for this politics is one thing: the panic of the guilty.

Interpreting the dropping of Can Atalay’s deputyship solely in terms of Constitutional Court or Supreme Court decisions would be insufficient. Before that, the wills of the party that nominated him, the Supreme Electoral Council that approved it, the voters who voted for him, and the TBMM that accepted him as a member were disregarded, and above all, it was a great insult to them.

It is now a proven experience that the words ‘terror, terrorist organization, terrorist’ should not be used carelessly. Politicians are one thing, but especially journalists and academics should refrain from using them.

Because these concepts are arguments developed by states or those holding the state power at the time to create justifications. It is the same worldwide.

They call Can Atalay a “terrorist.”

  • Why?
  • Because the law produced such a justification.

However, the same law previously produced similar justifications for Erdoğan and his colleagues. They were put in jail, banned from politics, and even had their party shut down. In those days, there were “respectable” jurists in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, and local courts, and they had no difficulty in producing justifications.

When the AKP was the sole government, they didn’t allow the TBMM to elect a president, and the then Honorary Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court caused the “367 crisis.” Apparently, if 367 votes are required for a person to be elected president, that many people should be present in the voting, otherwise, the voting cannot be done!

The Constitutional Court of the time approved this too.

Just as the government deludes its voters with false realities, so does the opposition. They are unmatched in distorting the truth, hiding their sins, and reflecting them onto different targets.

Of course, now the spear does not fit into the sack anymore.

They nominated a person who sold land to Mehmet Cengiz, the number one of the notorious five, as a candidate from Izmir. The government said, “We were deceived!”, did this person named Cemil Tugay say “I was naive!” too much?

They renominated Tanju Özcan in Bolu and Lütfü Savaş in Hatay. I don’t even feel the need to remind you of these people’s records.

Battal İlgezdi, who said, “Even if I am not a candidate, I will work like a donkey!”, resigned after being removed from Ataşehir, which he has managed for 15 years, claiming “There is an Alevi-Kurdish massacre in the party.” Look at the candidate they nominated in his place: Onursal Adıgüzel. The person who was in charge of the CHP Information Technology, which failed in the last two elections.

Meanwhile, Battal’s wife, Gamze İlgezdi, who has been a deputy for four terms, did not resign from the CHP, just in case.

Meral Akşener, who criticizes the CHP more than the AKP, shouted, “Has the CHP ever given us 1 lira of financial aid?” I don’t know about that, but I do know that they formed a group in the TBMM with 15 deputies who left the CHP, entered the elections, and received 722 million TL of Treasury assistance in 2023. That money was managed by Akşener’s son, distributed in bags and so on. I am the liar of the party’s treasurer.

Akşener only brushed off the allegations with the government’s rhetoric, saying, “The operations, the tricks behind them never end.”

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