Turkey opposition parties boycott AK Party congress

In Turkey, it is customary to host delegations from other parties during party congresses.

Turkey opposition parties boycott AK Party congress

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's two largest opposition parties have decided to boycott the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) congress on Sunday, citing different reasons.

In Turkey, it is customary to host delegations from other parties during party congresses. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have broken that tradition by declining to send any representative to the AK Party's congress.

A CHP statement said the AK Party's refusal to give accreditation to some newspapers to cover the fourth ordinary congress of the party caused great concern in Turkey, prompting its party administration to decline the invitation to participate AK Party congress.

The AK Party's media and public relations branch did not issue press badges for some newspapers, all of which are fierce critics of party. The ban covered Cumhuriyet, Aydınlık, Sözcü, Evrensel, Birgün, and Yeniçağ.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu expressed his outrage towards the government, saying that this is a black stain on Turkish democratic history. “This is a media embargo. I cannot comprehend this. How can a prime minister impose an embargo on the media?” he protested, speaking to reporters at an event in the town of Manavgat.

“If the prime minister discriminates among media groups, he is the prime minister of only some groups but not of the whole country,” he lashed out.

Another party, the MHP, had its own reasons not to attend to the AK Party congress.

The party, campaigning on nationalistic sentiments, has considerable aversion to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq. As KRG leader Massoud Barzani was invited to attend the congress by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the MHP said it decided to decline the invitation to attend.

“We have decided to not send a representative delegation of the MHP to the AK Party congress after it was confirmed that [Barzani] would participate as a ‘guest of honor',” the written statement issued on Sunday said.

The MHP had originally put together a delegation headed by deputy chairpersons Ruhsar Demirel and Mevlüt Karakaya. The MHP statement did not mention Barzani's name but simply referred to him as “this person.”

The MHP believes Barzani is aiming to establish an independent Kurdistan, partially carved out of Turkish land. It sees the KRG as a threat to Turkey's territorial integrity and national unity.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Eylül 2012, 17:30