Turkey’s opposition promises to target Israel, Saudi Arabia and Greece
The leader of the Turkish opposition said on Sunday that he will hold Israel, Saudi Arabia and Greece accountable for the steps they have taken against Turkey in recent years, promising to backtrack from Ankara’s recent policies that have sought detente with its regional neighbours.
Writing in a series of tweets on Sunday, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said there were "red lines" when it came to dealing with these countries.
"There is a price for martyring our citizens in international waters,” he said, referring to the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident where nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli forces in a civilian ship headed for the Gaza Strip.
“My message to Israel is that this issue is not closed to us.”
His comments came following a visit by the political leader with the family of one of the Turkish activists who was killed by the Israeli forces.
Turkey and Israel signed a deal in 2016 after Israel apologised and decided to pay compensation for the killings. Since then all court cases in Turkey have been dropped by the government. Both governments recently made efforts to repair their relationship, with Israeli President Isaac Herzog visiting Ankara in March.
Kilicdaroglu, a possible joint presidential candidate for the opposition during next year’s elections, also criticised the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who visited Ankara last week to officially close the rift between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which emerged following the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the hands of Saudi agents in Istanbul.
“I also have a few words to say to bin Salman, who came to our country. Murder on our land also has its price,” Kilicdaroglu said.
“Our account with him has not been closed either. He may be playing Erdogan on his finger, but Turkey is a great state, he will be made to pay for what he has done in our land.”
A Turkish court dropped the Khashoggi case five days before the crown prince’s trip to Turkey, leaving US courts as the only venue for a possible trial.
Hits out at Greece
But arguably Kilicdaroglu's strongest comments were reserved for Greece.
He threatened Greece with "nationalist" resistance and reminded Athens of the Turkish military’s 1974 Cyprus invasion which was led by then-Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit - who was also CHP leader - and deputy prime minister Necmettin Erbakan.
Turkey argues that Greece has been arming some of its islands which hold non-militarised status under a set of agreements signed since the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has called on Greece to stop arming the islands, otherwise their sovereignty would be put into question by Turkey. Greece denies that said deals grant non-militarised status to those islands.
“I am also very clear about Greece arming the islands. Greece knows the Kuvayi Milliye [Nationalist Forces] well,” said Kilicdaroglu.
“Greece also knows the late Ecevit and Erbakan well. Let them keep fighting with Erdogan, it's almost time. Then we will talk about arming the islands and pointing guns at our citizens.”