Gov’t lost its legitimacy: Turkey's main opposition leader

Gov’t lost its legitimacy: Turkey's main opposition leader

Gov’t lost its legitimacy: Turkeys main opposition leader

CHP Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (C) has raised the pressure on the government over the massive graft probe in which ministers’ sons have been arrested. CİHAN photo

Turkey’s main opposition leader has raised the pressure on the government over the massive graft probe in which ministers’ sons have been arrested, claiming that the government has lost its legitimacy since the prime minister is protecting the figures who are involved in corruption.

"The government has lost its legitimacy; it cannot rule Turkey any more. No prime minister throughout the history of the Turkish Republic has defended the corruption before. We are witnessing that the Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] is defending the graft and grafters. That’s why, the government has no legitimacy and it has become a lame duck,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Dec. 22 at the opening of a party meeting.

The CHP leader maintained its harsh criticism to the government over the last week’s graft probe that shook the country as the suspects include the sons of Interior Minister Muammer Güler, Economy Minister Zafer Cağlayan and Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar. Sons of Güler and Çağlayan were arrested and sent to prison while Çağlayan’s son was released on the condition of legal control. EU Minister Egemen Bağış is also said to be a suspect involved in corruption and bribery.

Speaking at rallies during his Black Sea region visit over the weekend, Erdoğan illustrated the graft probe as an ill-intentioned plot of local and foreign actors targeting to topple the government and vowed to settle scores with “gangs” and “members of the parallel state” who prepared the plot against government.

Without openly naming it, the “gang” and “parallel state” are terms that are being used by pro-government circles for describing the followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen particularly in police and judiciary, which is believed to have launched the corruption investigation.

Kılıçdaroğlu, nevertheless, rebuffed Erdoğan’s suggestion that the gangs within the state organized the graft probe to defame the government.

“I’m appealing to Mr. Prime Minister; you’re in power for 11 years. All intelligence organizations are under your command. How come you could not realize the gang up until today?,” Kılıçdaroğlu asked.

“He [Erdoğan] describes the state’s police and prosecutors as ‘gangs.’ How come you can call the state’s police and prosecutors as gangs? You’ve been ruling this country for 11 years; it means that you appointed the members of this gang to certain positions. If they are members of a gang, then there’s a problem, this country is governed by gangs,” the CHP leader said, while once again calling the government as “gang.”

“If he wants to see a gang, he should gather the cabinet; then he will see four gang members there. And if he wants to see who the leader of this gang is, he should look at the mirror.”

CHP leader also raised questions over shoe boxes filled with $4.5 million in cash that found in the house of the general director of a public Halkbank as well as large amounts of cash stored in several safe cases and a money counting machine in the house of a minister’s son.

“Did gangs put all those safe cases, money counting machine and that amount of cash there?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked.

A newly introduced decree that obliges police chiefs who are assigned to work with prosecutors in a probe to inform their superiors, including city police chiefs and governors, before launching an investigation is another attempt of the government to cover up the corruption and bribery, according to Kılıçdaroğlu.

“And this decree was introduced by a minister who was involved in corruption. It means that grafters will priorly be informed of the prosecutors’ instructions,” he said.