But you’ve got to ask, why would they want him gone?
To many observers he is emblematic of the backwardness and irrelevance of Turkey’s Kemalist opposition parties. This from a Financial Times opinion piece from March 12 by David Gardner, who pulls no punches:
the Kemalists… are unelectable: after being trounced in two general elections by the AKP they appear to have no strategy except to return to power by goading the army and the judiciary into seizing back what their howlingly irrelevant parties keep losing at the ballot box.
…Ataturk’s Republican People’s party (CHP), under the ageing and illiberal Deniz Baykal, is a rudderless rump, incapable of appealing to a young Turkey.
It’s very obvious that he was targeted from within. The government should be extremely stupid to do something like that because Baykal is a very good opposition leader for them because he has no chance of creating a strong political reign which will bring the CHP to power. You wouldn’t want to lose him because if the CHP really started to function democratically there might be a very strong political opposition and it would be really dangerous for the AKP.
His statement was not a statement of someone who really and unconditionally gave up political life. He wants to be called back… If Baykal is talking without having any credible basis for his allegations he will be wiped out from political life.
It will be interesting to see just how permanent Baykal’s departure is, and where the CHP might go without him.