AKP, CHP tension escalates further amid off-shore accounts row
Tension between Turkey’s ruling and main opposition parties escalated further over the weekend, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowing that Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will “soon pay the price for his claims at court.”
“You cannot slander Erdoğan and his family by brandishing a handful of fake documents. The day is approaching when you will give your account at court. There he will see how his slanders are wrapped around his neck,” Erdoğan, the head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said at a public rally on Dec. 17.
The “fake documents” Erdoğan was referring to related to money transactions from Turkey to the tax-haven Isle of Man by the family members of Erdoğan in 2011 and 2012. The documents were publicized by Kılıçdaroğlu in mid-November, sparking fresh political tension between the two parties.
Speaking on Dec. 17, Erdoğan called Kılıçdaroğlu “ignorant,” accusing him of “slandering me and my family members.”
Erdoğan and his family members recently filed criminal complaints against Kılıçdaroğlu demanding up to 1.5 million Turkish Liras in compensation in relation to the accusations.
Tension at parliament
Meanwhile, AKP and CHP lawmakers continued to engage in brawls and angry quarrel over the weekend during budget talks at parliament, especially during deliberations on the budget of the Interior Ministry.
The CHP had submitted a parliamentary motion against Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu over his “threatening and insulting” remarks targeting the main opposition leader, after he recently said “Kılıçdaroğlu: You are finished.”
CHP spokesman Bülent Tezcan accused Soylu of using “a third class mafia boss language,” while CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Özgür Özel recalled that Soylu only joined the AKP in the early 2010s after departing as leader of the Democrat Party.
Özel suggested that Soylu “joined the AKP upon Fethullah Gülen’s request as part of a project.”
“He joined the party as a potential leader after Erdoğan. This was a [Fethullah Terror Organization] FETÖ project of that time,” he said, referring to U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have been behind the July 2016 coup attempt.
Soylu blasts CHP MPs
In angry response delivered from the parliamentary lectern, Soylu denied having any links to Gülenists.
“I’m ready to resign if you can prove there is even one AKP MP with ByLock on his phone,” he said, referring a communication platform used by FETÖ members.
“I will quit politics on the same day as Tayyip Erdoğan and I will never return again,” he added.