CHP leader challenges President Erdoğan to TV debate
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has challenged President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a television debate, amid a heated exchange after Erdoğan blasted Kılıçdaroğlu’s record during his time as head of the Social Security Administration (SSK).
“Erdoğan, if you have the courage and the charisma as you claim, come and face off with me. I’ll show you what charisma is. Why don’t you talk to my face?” Kılıçdaroğlu said in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ on Nov. 17.
The CHP leader’s challenge came after the president accused him of “bankrupting” the SSK during his time as its head back in the 1990s.
“An army of inspectors has already investigated those 10 years. They couldn’t find even 0.05 liras worth of corruption,” Kılıçdaroğlu had said on Nov. 16.
“In the year I resigned, there was a 2.3 billion lira deficit. Today there is a 21 billion lira deficit. Why is that?” he added.
In response to Kılıçdaroğlu, Erdoğan said 2 billion liras at the time amounts to around 40 billion liras today when inflation is taken into account.
“Do not believe Kılıçdaroğlu when he claims to be a public accountant. He does not know the first thing about accounts … Did he bankrupt the system or not?” Erdoğan said on Nov. 17, speaking to ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) local heads in Ankara.
“If you have the guts, sit in front of me and let’s talk,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
He also criticized Erdoğan’s children for “using off-shore accounts in tax havens.”
“Dear Erdoğan, did your children send millions of U.S. dollars to tax havens or did they not? I know very well that they did, but I want him to confess it himself. Politicians should not think about their own pocket, they should think about the public. An honest and honorable politician thinks about the public. I can account for every penny I have,” he said.