November 20, 2015

CHP chairman slams unlawful trustee appointments to leading companies

Chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has strongly criticized the recent government-orchestrated appointment of trustees to leading private companies, saying such moves deal a severe blow to Turkish democracy.

“The state is adding yet another poor mark to our country's report card on democracy by unlawfully appointing trustees to holdings that employ hundreds of people,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in comments on Twitter on Thursday.

“The world supports large companies in order to sustain economic growth. But Turkey is instead appointing trustees with high salaries to large companies,” he continued.

His statements came after a panel of trustees was appointed to Kaynak Holding, a group that owns the country's largest publishing house, in a government-initiated move on Wednesday.

Kaynak Holding, which comprises 23 companies, owns Kaynak Publishing House and the NT Mağazaları nationwide bookstore chain, along with 100 publishing brands, and employs more than 8,000 people.

The court decision to put Kaynak under receivership came right after a similar ruling imposed the same on Koza İpek Holding, which had among its subsidiaries four media outlets critical of the government's policies. The court decisions are regarded by many people as the most recent wave of pressure on the faith-based Gülen movement, which is inspired by the Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The CHP leader mentioned recent statements by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in which he claimed that members of the Gülen movement “betrayed” him, and accused Erdoğan of using the judiciary as a tool for his personal revenge.

“Erdoğan admits that he is involved in a personal war [against the Gülen movement]. But the judiciary stands for justice, not revenge,” he said.

The president created the term “parallel state,” a derogatory and misleading term, to refer to sympathizers of the faith-based civic group, which is popularly known as the Hizmet movement.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and President Erdoğan redesigned the police force and the judiciary, claiming a “parallel structure” within the state was planning to overthrow the ruling government by means of a graft probe from two years ago.

A witch hunt has been carried out against many members of the police force and judiciary since Dec. 17, 2013, when a major graft probe was revealed following police investigations into people from AK Party circles. The operations even implicated family members of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan. Following the breaking of the scandal, Turkey saw the biggest reshuffling of its police force and judiciary in its history.

Published on Today's Zaman, 19 November 2015, Thursday