Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has strongly warned the Turkish government against starting any military intervention in Syria, saying this would have a high cost for the whole country.
“I am warning you. Don’t you dare,” he said, criticizing the government for implementing policies that would strengthen its position, KIlıçdaorğlu said in a June 29 interview with daily Hürriyet.
“They have staged a merciless domestic policy also to this end. But the most dangerous one is turning foreign policy into an element of domestic politics. Unfortunately, the AKP [the Justice and Development Party] has done this. I am afraid it will continue doing so,” he said, calling on the government to avoid such a policy. “As the head of the CHP, I am warning them not to drag Turkey into an adventure; it would have a high cost. And the people on the street, not the politicians, would pay such a bill.”
Noting that the current government is an outgoing one, Kılıçdaroğlu stressed the fact that the president was speaking first about the issue was an indication that the government was still under the tutelage of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Now there is a temporary government; they should not forget about it. [There is a] discussion on intervention in Syria. And it is wrong. The one to speak first on the matter should be the prime minister, not the president,” he said.
“This is not like sitting at your palace,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the newly built presidential palace in Ankara.
Previous terrorist attacks in Cilvegözü, Reyhanlı and Niğde, along with more than 2 million Syrian refugees, are the visible, heavy bill that Turkey has been paying.
Turkey has spent $6 billion on Syrian refugees, while some 17 million Turks are poor, Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Kılıçdaroğlu addressed the 40 percent of Turkish citizens that voted for the AKP and asked them to think about why Turkey is isolated from the world and why its reputation is being questioned.
“Preserving Turkey’s reputation is not only my duty, but that of 77 million citizens of this country,” he said.
Syrians who have been forced to leave their homeland are also paying a heavy price, he added.
The CHP leader said he has criticized the Syria policy of the government right from the start, dismissing claims that Turkey could be a playmaker in the Middle East.
“You weren’t able to become a playmaker but turned the country into a whipping boy,” he said.
The party leader invited the government to consider the warning by former Chief of Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, who recommended that Ankara solve the issue together with the Syrian government, with whom Turkey has cut ties.
The government’s agenda was leaked to the press earlier, Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to an alleged eavesdropping scandal in March 2014, in which a male voice, allegedly belonging to intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, said Turkey could fire rockets at a Turkish tomb in Syria in a false flag operation.