CHP chair Kılıçdaroğlu gives President Erdoğan Dec 5 as ‘deadline’ on Zarrab
MERSİN – Doğan News Agency
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he would give President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan until Dec. 5 to reveal who exposed state secrets to Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, a key witness in the trial of a Turkish bank executive in the U.S. over violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) previously gave the U.S. two diplomatic notes to return Zarrab to Turkey, on the grounds that he is “a clean guy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Dec. 2 in an opening ceremony in the southern province of Mersin.
“[But] once Zarrab started to sing like a canary, then [the AKP said] he was a spy, a traitor. Up until yesterday, he was your best friend. When he received the money, he was good, but now that he is talking, he is bad. I give Erdoğan until Tuesday [Dec. 5] to explain who exposed state’s secrets to Zarrab,” the CHP leader said.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments came a day after Turkish prosecutors ordered the seizure of Zarrab’s assets, citing a part of the Turkish penal code that addresses the leaking of state secrets. Zarrab had previously claimed in a trial in a Manhattan court that he had paid millions of dollars in bribes to a former Turkish economy minister to facilitate illegal gold transactions with sanctions-hit Iran.
“I live with the hope of 80 million people [in Turkey]. The 80 million want to live in this country in peace. We will fight for this together. Law and justice is a right for all of us. We will fight until we achieve it,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
Kılıçdaroğlu also touched on the shift from the parliamentary system to the presidential system this year, which was realized through a referendum conducted on April 16, and said the parliamentary regime should be brought back.
“You are the ones who best know the dangers that Turkey faces. The first is the one-man regime, replacing the democratic parliamentary system. You see what the one-man regime is. You see what Turkey has turned into. We need to remove Turkey from this dead end. We need to bring back the democratic regime. We need to bring back peace. This is why our women will knock on every door one-by-one on the path to 2019 [general elections],” he said.
Turks went to the polls on April 16 to vote on constitutional amendments that transformed the country from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential system. Some 51.3 percent of the more than 58 million Turkish voters said “yes” to the AKP’s constitutional amendment package on April 16. The turnout exceeded 84 percent.