CHP, AKP exchange angry words over claims CHP head will be jailed
AA photoThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (AKP) engaged in a row after the latter raised concerns that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu would be jailed.
“This is something completely fabricated by the CHP, aiming to help itself and smear the AKP and the government. The discussion originated from the CHP. It is trying to create a perception about something that does not even exist,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said in an interview on public broadcaster TRT on Aug. 23.
His comments came after the AKP and the CHP engaged in a row over rumors that Kılıçdaroğlu could become embroiled in a legal case in which CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu has already been imprisoned.
“What is the source of these discussions? They originate from discussions over the imprisonment of a CHP lawmaker. Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu should answer questions instead of trying to direct the debate into irrelevant points,” Bozdağ said.
As Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in jail for “leaking state secrets” to the media in a case regarding the stopping of weapons-loaded National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks allegedly heading to Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had implied in early August that the investigation could be extended to Kılıçdaroğlu.
“Don’t be surprised if Kılıçdaroğlu’s link to the issue related to the jailed lawmaker is revealed,” Erdoğan said on Aug. 13 at an AKP meeting in Antalya.
Bozdağ said Kılıçdaroğlu had “some questions to answer.”
“On May 17, 2015 he spoke to some officials at the [shuttered pro-Gülen] Zaman newspaper, along with others. On May 29 he said ‘I’ve also seen [the footage of MİT trucks].’ It is stated in the ruling that [the footage] was given to the Cumhuriyet newspaper on May 27 and it was published on May 29. Can Dündar [daily Cumhuriyet’s former editor-in-chief] has said he was given the footage by a leftist lawmaker,” he added.
“When did you watch the footage? Where were you? Who was with you? Who brought the footage to you?” Bozdağ said.
“If he cannot answer those questions, newspapers and other sources will start to speculate on it. With his comments that he is going to be imprisoned, you see his guilty conscience,” he added.
CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan slammed Bozdağ for the comments.
“Nobody has the authority to arrest Kılıçdaroğlu unlawfully and unjustly,” Tezcan said on Aug. 23 after his party’s central executive board meeting.
He reiterated that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan implied in his speech in Antalya that the CHP leader could be linked with the MİT trucks case.
“Didn’t the AKP leader say those words in Antalya? Are we fabricating those comments?” Tezcan said, adding that ruling party officials “realized the gravity of Erdoğan’s comments” and were “trying to find a way back” by arguing about the issue.
“They should stop instructing the judicial authorities. Arresting and releasing cannot be a political party’s agenda, it should be the agenda of the judiciary,” he added, referring to Erdoğan’s later comments in which he said “such an issue is not on my agenda.”
‘Turkey’s real agenda is economic distribution’
The CHP spokesman also commented on the recent criticism from Erdoğan about Kılıçdaroğlu’s photos taken during the justice march, describing the president’s words as a “fake agenda.”
“They are trying to cover up the real agenda of Turkey. The real agenda is the fact that 15 years of the AKP government have created a Turkey with inequality of income and inequality of resources in line with international lobbies,” Tezcan said.
Erdoğan had criticized Kılıçdaroğlu for the picture in which the CHP leader was depicted in a trailer eating dinner wearing a vest during the recent “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul.
“Do not look at the vest, look at the shopping bags of the people,” Tezcan said.
“Over the last 15 years social segregation and social destruction have increased. Prostitution has increased by 790 percent, drug use has increased by 678 percent, the number of people in jail has increased by 231 percent. They have created such a Turkey,” he added.