Erdoğan’s top court remarks point to coup d’état: CHP head
Rifat Başaran - ANKARA
AA PhotoCritical remarks made by Turkey’s president on a top court ruling that led to the release of two journalists who spent months under arrest over a news report alleging state-owned trucks carrying weapons to Syria show that steps are being taken for a coup d’état, the country’s main opposition leader has said.
“If someone who was elected by [laws defined in] the constitution says ‘I do not recognize the constitution,’ that means moves are underway for a coup d’état,” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refusal to obey a ruling by Turkey’s Constitutional Court that provided legal ground for the release of daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül.
Speaking at a meeting he held with representatives of several civic organizations in Ankara on March 5, Kılıçdaroğlu said small and medium business owners, tradesmen and business organizations were keeping silent about the economy’s current slump due to fear of Turkish authorities, what he called a “violation” of the principle of separation of powers.
“If someone walks up and says ‘legislation and jurisdiction [functions of the state] are drags for me,’ then he violates the principle of separation of powers,” the main opposition leader said.
“Do you see what pressures business owners and tradesmen are under? Nobody can speak out because of fear. Why couldn’t trade and industry chambers say, ‘the economy is slumping?’” he added, stressing the silent stance of small and medium business owners came from the lack of an environment of democracy and liberty.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks came days after Erdoğan’s remarks sparked debate and physical confrontation between parliamentary members from opposition parties and those from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) late Feb. 28.
Erdoğan said he would not accept nor respect the ruling was issued by the Constitutional Court late Feb. 25, hours after the ruling, while vowing not to abide by the ruling, “This incident has nothing to do with freedom of expression, it is a case of spying,” Erdoğan said on Feb. 28 after, speaking to reporters ahead of his official trip to Africa.
Dündar and Gül, who were arrested on Nov. 26, 2015, on terrorism charges, served in prison for more than 90 days under “pre-trial” arrest in a case filed after daily Cumhuriyet published a report in May 2015 that alleged state-owned trucks carried weapons to Syria. The trucks owned by the National Inteligence Agency (MİT), the state intelligence agency of the country, were stopped and searched by gendarmes in the southern Turkish province of Hatay in January 2014, the daily said in the report.