17.04.2024

CHP Leader Özgür Özel spoke at the PACE Spring Session: ‘We Have the Strong Will to Overcome All Crises’

In his speech at the Spring Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Republican People's Party Leader Özgür Özel said: ‘As European democrats, we have the strong will to overcome all crises. A more democratic, more prosperous, more secure Europe makes possible a stronger social state based on the human rights of every member of this family. This is why we must be in solidarity. We have been the founding will of the principles I mentioned both in Turkey and in Europe. From now on, we will continue to be the pioneer of a policy that will make these principles and values valid for all citizens.’

Özgür Özel, Chairperson of the Republican People's Party, spoke at the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group within the scope of the Spring Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in France. ‘I am very proud to be present for the first time at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, which was formed 75 years ago when the representatives of the member states of the Council of Europe came together, and to be addressing you today in the Socialists, Democrats and Greens group,’ said Özel.

‘WE WILL CONTINUE OUR CONTACTS BY INTENSIFYING’

‘Our country is represented by 18 members under this roof,’ said Özel and added: ‘Our party's view of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has not deviated from the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights, which was adopted at the first meeting of this council. As the founding party of our country, we continue to struggle for the development of democracy, human rights and freedoms. We are a party that has adopted as a principle the protection of human rights and fundamental rights and freedoms, which is the main objective of the Council of Europe. When I was elected as CHP Chairperson in November, we underlined that our party should be in closer relations and solidarity with our sister parties and comrades in Europe and the world. Even though we had limited time due to the local elections, I attended the SPD congress in Germany, the Socialist International summit in Madrid and the leaders' summit of the European Socialist Party in Bucharest. We have very valuable executives and MPs in our party who have served in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and who know European institutions very well. From now on, we will continue these contacts more frequently.’ Özel said the following:


‘WE HAVE BECOME THE FIRST PARTY IN OUR COUNTRY'

‘As CHP, we celebrated our 100th anniversary last year. As one of the oldest social democratic parties in Europe, we increased our vote rate to 38 per cent in the local elections two weeks ago and made our party the first party in our country with the support of 17 million 300 thousand citizens. We won the mayorships as the first party in 35 provinces of Turkey, 14 of which are metropolitan cities. We have won 11 more provinces than the party currently in power. I would like to note that 9 out of the 10 provinces of Turkey that we all know, including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Mersin, Antalya, Bursa and Muğla, which are the most frequented provinces of Turkey both in terms of industry and economy, are governed by CHP municipalities, 65 per cent of the country's population today receive services from CHP municipalities, and the municipalities we govern represent 80 per cent of the country's economy. As a social democratic party, our responsibility has increased with this great support from all segments of our society. With the awareness of this responsibility, we will never compromise on social democratic values and the just administration that our people need. I would like to emphasise that there is much more room for women and young people in the cadres of the new politics we are pioneering. There are 50 per cent women in the leadership of our party and the average age of our leadership is 43. We now have more women and young mayors. The understanding of participatory, scientifically orientated, collective work, understanding the expectations of our people and making decisions with common sense has brought us success. This understanding of ours is not different from the will to keep alive the fundamental values of the Council of Europe, of which we are the founder.’

‘OUR SIDE IS CLEAR’

‘We are a party to the Istanbul Convention for a social order in which women are protected from violence, equal and part of society. We are a party to the European Convention on Human Rights to ensure democracy and human rights for all. We are a party to the European Social Charter to guarantee the economic and social rights of labour, pensioners, young people. Our side is clear. We are in favour of the course set by our founding cadres, democracy and modernity. Together with our progressive, social democratic, socialist and environmentalist comrades from all European countries, it is our solidarity and common struggle to spread the electoral success of our party in Turkey on 31 March to the whole of Europe. In this context, we see the European Parliament elections in June as very important. As the CHP Chairperson, I would like to express here that we are ready to support and contribute to progressive, social democratic and leftist political parties in these elections. I believe that Turkish voters living in various countries in Europe will turn towards parties aiming for a fairer Europe. I express this as an invitation. I would also like to underline that I am very pleased that Kosovo, our neighbour from the Balkan geography and the youngest country in Europe, has been approved as a member of the Council of Europe in these lands.’

‘OUR WORLD IS GOING THROUGH A PROCESS OF CHANGE AND TRANSFORMATION’

‘In the 65th year of our country's journey to the European Union, which started in 1959, it has still not received full member status. In this process, our country's goal of full membership could not be realised due to the shortcomings and mistakes of both sides. The support of our comrades in the European Union is important for Turkey's membership to the European Union. Full membership to the EU is the main goal of both our party and our people. This is the route shown to us by our founder. We are part of Europe. As the first party of Turkey, we are ready to contribute to our country's EU membership, to take diplomatic initiatives and to lead the way in convincing our European friends. Dear comrades, our world is going through a process of change and transformation. The problems we face now are global issues that transcend our borders and whose solution requires all of us to work together. This series of deeply interconnected problems threatens the economic and social conditions of our people and our democracies. Far-right ideology, which attracts the masses who do not get what they deserve from the established economic order, who feel left behind, who experience income injustice, with radical discourses, is gaining strength in many regions of continental Europe. Far-right movements and authoritarian regimes have the potential to resurface harmful ideologies that we have buried in the pages of history. Here in Turkey, we have taken important and powerful steps towards a new politics that will find a solution to these multiple crises and common problems. Therefore, we must strengthen democratic politics. We must increase solidarity between our parties against rising authoritarianism. As those who believe in democracy, those who have the will to establish a new economic order, we must join forces more.’

‘HUMANITARIAN DRAMA IN GAZA’

‘A new order that will replace the neoliberal economic order and a participatory, democratic, equal representation-based understanding of governance is our common need. Neither global nor national income justice has been achieved; on the contrary, income distribution has deteriorated with each crisis. The income of the top 1 per cent group has increased almost everywhere. Unfortunately, income inequality has reached unsustainable levels. This situation stands out as an element that feeds tension both on a national and global scale. We have a greater responsibility in this regard. Only in this way can we find solutions to the problems of workers, farmers, low-income earners and precarious groups. Unfortunately, the last few years have shown us that war and conflict are still one of the most important risks for humanity. As of now, more than 33 thousand people have lost their lives in the operations carried out by Israel in Gaza after the attack carried out by Hamas on 7 October 2023. A significant portion of these are women and children. While this humanitarian drama continues in Gaza, we followed with concern the escalating tension between Israel and Iran over the weekend.’

'PALESTINIAN STATE ON 1967 BORDERS'

‘Last November I made an international call for peace. At the congress of our sister party SPD in Germany, at the Madrid summit of the Socialist International, where I was elected Vice President, and at the summit of the leaders of the European Socialist Party in Bucharest, I emphasised that we have a great responsibility in this regard. I am aware that this tension triggers great concerns not only in the Middle East but also in Europe and the world. While tensions in the Middle East have risen to such an extent, the duty of our party is to pioneer all efforts to reduce these tensions. I would like to express that we are ready for any initiative in solidarity with our sister parties. Because it should be known that without a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the rising tension between the countries will not subside and this threat will continue to be felt all over Europe and the world. I would like to emphasise that for a permanent solution to the problem, the United Nations needs a two-state formation that will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital within the 1967 borders. I have to emphasise once again with regret that turning a blind eye to the continuation of attacks directly targeting civilians and the attitudes of some countries destroy the basis of fundamental values such as human rights. We will always continue to be the spokesperson of peace, the defender of the righteous and the oppressed, based on the words of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of our country, peace at home, peace in the world.’

‘WE ARE READY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY’

‘As the leader of a party that founded the Republic of Turkey, I am the representative of a deep-rooted tradition and an important mission. The goal of this mission is to create a modern society and a developed and just economic order. We have to make reason and science dominant in governance, and we have to carry out a struggle that will contribute both in our country, in Europe and in the world with a respectable, peaceful, non-adventurous foreign policy. I am hopeful that with the strength we have gained from the recent elections in our country and the close solidarity with our sister parties in Europe, we will create fairer and more equal societies that will realise their goals. I think that the process between us and Azerbaijan in the past period, in which we did not take part in the vote, but which we regret in terms of its consequences, should be repaired quickly. We are the defenders of the common values of the Council to the end. However, the process with Azerbaijan is instructive for both sides in terms of its results so far. I would like to express that we are ready to take all kinds of responsibility between Azerbaijan, which is a very important country for us, and the Council in order to make all kinds of contributions to the restoration of relations.’

‘WE WILL BUILD TOGETHER’

‘As European democrats, we have the strong will to overcome all crises. A more democratic, more prosperous, more secure Europe makes possible a stronger welfare state based on the human rights of every member of this family. This is why we must be in solidarity. We have been the founding will of the principles I have mentioned both in Turkey and in Europe. From now on, we will continue to be the pioneer of a politics that will make these principles and values valid for all citizens. I greet you all with my belief that we will build a better tomorrow together. I think that we will achieve great successes together from now on, and I offer my regards.’


CHP GENEL BAŞKANI ÖZGÜR ÖZEL FRANSA’DA

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