Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu attacks CHP head’s comments on Ataşehir mayor
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has blasted main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over his comments on Battal İlgezdi, the former CHP mayor of Istanbul’s Ataşehir who was recently removed from office following corruption allegations.
“Kılıçdaroğlu is openly lying about the Ataşehir issue on live broadcast as I write these words. He said the [corruption] allegations had all been dropped. If that is the case, I will resign. If not, will you resign?” Soylu posted on his Twitter account on Dec. 19, while Kılıçdaroğlu was speaking in a live interview on TV station NTV.
İlgezdi was suspended by the Interior Ministry on Dec. 8 over corruption allegations, prompting fury within the CHP.
Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the move, saying İlgezdi had already been acquitted of all corruption charges.
“We have no further account to give. Our mayor previously applied to the prosecutor’s office asking for an investigation to be carried out following media reports and my own request. He was acquitted in the subsequent investigations. What is happening now is an attempted character assassination. They want to intimidate us, but we won’t give up,” the CHP leader had said.
Kılıçdaroğlu has also reminded Soylu of CHP Deputy Group Leader Özgür Özel’s accusations that Soylu is tied to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). Özel had claimed that the minister met with Fethullah Gülen just months before joining the AKP.
“If Soylu doesn’t answer our questions within a week, we will present [incriminating] documents in censure motion talks,” Özel told parliament during budget talks on Dec. 18.