The Turkish General Staff stated on April 14 that it is investigating main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s visit to a military base in the western province of Balıkesir, where he was greeted by a guard of honor.
“The issue regarding main opposition chairman Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s visit to the 6th Main Jet Base Command on April 13 2017 is being investigated. Respectfully announced to the public,” the military said in a statement.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s private helicopter landed at the 6th Main Jet Base Command pad in the Bandırma district on April 13 as a part of his program for the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments in the province. He was greeted by base commander Pilot Brigadier Ahmet Biçer, party deputies Namık Havutça, Mehmet Tüm, Ahmet Akın and Bandırma Mayor Dursun Mirza, along with a guard of honor.
The Bandırma mayor later shared the pictures of the military greeting on his Facebook profile, as members of the press were not allowed.
Military sources have said the guard of honor greeting for the CHP
leader is inappropriate during an election period, while some figures close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have said Kılıçdaroğlu violated the election law.
“The main opposition leader is in the fourth rank in the state protocol. There should not have been a guard of honor greeting. Only presidents are greeted by the guard of honor during pre-election restrictions and the guard of honor is not attended in greeting other political leaders. The base commander or his substitute could have greeted the CHP
leader alone by the state courtesy,” sources said.