On 16 September, DPI hosted an online roundtable meeting on ‘Opposition’s Perspective on the political, social and economic effects of COVID-19 in Turkey’ with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, President of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and his delegation, namely Levent Gök, MP; Selin Sayek Böke, Secretary-General of CHP and MP; Ünal Çeviköz, Chief Advisor to President Kılıçdaroğlu for Foreign Affairs; and Yüksel Taşkın, Deputy Chairman Responsible for Social Policies. This was the fifth meeting of our online roundtables engaging the wide spectrum of political parties in Turkey, including AK Party, CHP, DEVA Party, HDP, Future Party and Saadet Party. Previous meetings hosted representatives of AK Party, HDP, Future Party and Saadet Party.
Kılıçdaroğlu stated that the key role of CHP, as the main opposition party, has been to bring forward recommendations for the government during this time, focusing on presenting constructive suggestions rather than criticisms. The main goal of CHP’s recommendations was to minimise the effects the pandemic poses on the social, political, and economic aspects. Kılıçdaroğlu discussed Turkey’s five main problems: democracy, economy, education, foreign policy, and social peace. These problems are not independent, but rather interconnected which prevent development and restrict freedoms in Turkey. Kılıçdaroğlu stated that these issues have intensified due to the pandemic.
The online roundtables form part of a larger series of activities in the context of the project ‘Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey’, supported by the EU, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.