Bring it on, declares defiant Kılıçdaroğlu

Bring it on, declares defiant Kılıçdaroğlu

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Bring it on, declares defiant Kılıçdaroğlu

The trial of hundreds on charges of plotting to oust the government has degenerated into a ‘blood feud,’ says Kılıçdaroğlu. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu applied yesterday for the abolition of his judicial immunity and stepped up accusations that the judiciary has become a political weapon in government hands.

“You cannot intimidate me with your special-authority courts. I am not bowing down to you. I will say what I say even if you send me to prison and even to the gallows,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an emotional address to his Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentary group, from whom the CHP leader received a hero’s welcome.

The deputies were scheduled to collectively follow him today in applying to have their immunities lifted.

“What needed to happen has happened,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, showing no sympathy for his arch-rival. Erdoğan said the prosecutor’s move targeting Kılıçdaroğlu was long due.

Speaking to his lawmakers, Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated that the Silivri Prison, where two CHP deputies are awaiting trial, had become a “concentration camp” for opponents of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). For such remarks, he now risks standing trial for “attempting to influence a fair trial” and “insulting court members.”

The CHP leader will land in court if the justice minister approves the request for his trial and sends it to Parliament, where a vote is required to abolish his immunity.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the trial of hundreds of people on charges of plotting to unseat the government had degenerated into a “blood feud” and added that he had “not even the slightest trust” in the judicial system. “By fair trial, they mean seizing unpublished books and jailing students who demand free education. What we are asking for is the supremacy of law. Taking revenge is not normalization,” he said.

Touching on the arrest of former Chief of the General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, Kılıçdaroğlu said the move was timed to divert attention from an air strike that mistakenly killed 35 civilians last month.

“Whenever the AKP is in trouble, files emerge from the drawers. It would be more comfortable for them if they reserve a private room for special-authority prosecutors” at the AKP headquarters, he said.

“Using the guise of ‘advanced democracy,’ the AKP is legitimizing oppression, lawlessness and slander,” Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said in support of the CHP.

Başbuğ’s arrest is “a mistake that goes beyond ill intentions,” Bahçeli also said.

Brushing aside the criticism, Erdoğan insisted that the coup investigations had made Turkey more democratic and freed the country from military tutelage.