Erdoğan files criminal complaint against İnce over Gülen allegation
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint against Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), over his allegation that Erdoğan visited U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen before forming the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Erdoğan’s lawyer, Hüseyin Aydın, filed a lawsuit against İnce for “insulting the president,” demanding non-pecuniary damages worth 100,000 Turkish Liras on May 29.
“The allegations of the accused are amount to a serious violation of the president’s personal rights and are completely baseless,” the complaint letter read.
“It is out of the question that there was any permission from any individual or organization, including the individual [Gülen] that the accused alleged,” the letter added.
The complaint came after İnce alleged on May 25 in a televised interview that Erdoğan visited Gülen in Pennsylvania and “asked permission” to form ruling AKP. Gülen is a former close ally of Erdoğan and the AKP but his network is now widely believed to have been behind the July 2016 coup attempt.
“There was one more person along with Erdoğan. I am keeping this name secret for their own safety for now, but I will reveal it after I become president,” İnce said on May 25.
Erdoğan responded to the claims on May 28, calling on İnce to prove his allegations.
“If you said I formed the AKP after I asked permission from Pennsylvania, you have to prove it. Such a thing is out of the question,” Erdoğan said in rally in the western province of Manisa.
İnce repeated the allegations on May 29 at a public rally in the northeastern province of Trabzon, saying “the person who travelled with [Erdoğan]” was the one who told him about the trip.
“The person who you were very close with back then told me that you travelled together. I am not saying that person’s name in order to protect them. We will give the details after June 24,” he added.