Gov’t slams opposition’s ‘controlled coup’ claim
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım have strongly reacted to the main opposition leader’s claims that the July 15, 2016, coup attempt occurred within the knowledge of the government and was therefore a “controlled coup,” accusing the opposition leader of insulting the Turkish people after 250 were killed on the night of the putsch.
“I asked [the government]: ‘Could any coup be staged at 9:30 p.m.?’ They told me it happened at that time because ‘[the coup plot] was revealed.’ That means [the government] was aware of the coup beforehand. The testimonies of FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization] members also strengthen the view that it was a ‘controlled coup,’” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told the editors of television stations in a breakfast meeting on April 3.
More than 250 civilians and around 3,000 soldiers were killed during the thwarted coup, widely believed to have been masterminded by FETÖ. Kılıçdaroğlu’s description of the incident as a “controlled coup” elicited strong reactions from both Erdoğan and Yıldırım. “The leader [of the CHP] has called July 15 a ‘controlled coup.’ He says he has files [proving this claim]. If there are files, disclose them! But all he does is lies,” Erdoğan said at a rally in the Black Sea town of Rize.
Yıldırım also responded to Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims in a harsher fashion, saying, “Shame on you Kılıçdaroğlu,” at a meeting with local business leaders in Ankara. “What does a controlled coup attempt mean? Isn’t it an insult to our martyrs and our veterans? What does this mean? Does it mean ‘Some people planned this coup, airplanes staged bombardments, heavy weapons [were used] and tanks opened fire on the people?’” Yıldırım asked, calling on the CHP leader to prove his claims.
Recalling Kılıçdaroğlu’s questioning of the timing of the coup, the prime minister said: “So, the coup plotters should ask you what time they should stage it. Have a look at this vileness!”
CHP: Bylock users in AKP
Kılıçdaroğlu also noted how the government had arrested thousands of people linked to FETÖ but had not taken any action against its political wing.
“It is known that there are between 120 and 180 Bylock users among the AKP leadership. These Bylock users should be revealed,” he said, referring to a special communication application used almost exclusively by FETÖ members.
“Protecting criminals is a crime. If they are protected, on what grounds are they protected? All this should be revealed. If you hide this list [of Bylock users], it means you are not fighting FETÖ. If you hide them, this suggests that July 15 was a controlled coup attempt,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
His words came just a day after Yıldırım denied allegations that FETÖ had a “political affiliation” within the AKP.
Reaction to Baykal and CHP MP
Erdoğan and Yıldırım also slammed the former head of the CHP, Deniz Baykal, and lawmaker Hüsnü Bozkurt over their comments on the referendum in which they likened the case to the War of Independence of Turkey.
“If the ‘no’ side wins in the referendum, we’ll celebrate as if we’re driving the enemy into the sea in İzmir,” Baykal said, referring to how Turkey drove the invading Greek armies into the Aegean during the War of Independence in 1922.
“If the ‘yes’ sides prevails in the ballot … we will commence in Samsun and go to Amasya, Sivas and arrive in Ankara and then [proceed onto] İnönü, Sakarya and Dumlupınar. Shame on us if we will not chase you to İzmir. Then we will drive you into the sea from İzmir,” Bozkurt said on April 2, likening the case to the course of the events in the War of Independence.
“What impudence is that!” Erdoğan said, calling on Kılıçdaroğlu to take measures against Bozkurt.
“How can you say such a thing to a political movement which has been in the ruling position for 14 years with the votes of the nation?” Erdoğan said.
Yıldırım also slammed Bozkurt. “Rascal! Who do you think you are you to insult the Turkish nation? Know your place!” Yıldırım said.
Meanwhile, the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office also opened an investigation into Bozkurt over his comments. Members of the Justice Everywhere Platform also filed a complained about Bozkurt in Konya for “inciting hatred and antagonism within the public.”