Kılıçdaroğlu says remarks he made on alleged meeting between CHP member, Erdoğan being distorted
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu participated in the opening ceremony of Harmandalı Organized Landfill Biogas Plant in İzmir on Nov. 24.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said remarks he made about an alleged meeting between a senior party member and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential complex are being distorted.
“My remarks are being distorted as though I have information on who visited the president,” daily Hürriyet on Nov. 25 quoted Kılıçdaroğlu as saying.
The CHP has been experiencing internal tensions after a columnist for daily Sözcü, Rahmi Turan, on Nov. 19 claimed that a CHP member held a meeting with Erdoğan and that the president proposed to help the politician assume leadership of the CHP. The presidential communications director, Fahrettin Altun, has denied the rumors.
Speaking on private broadcaster FOX TV on Nov. 21, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu said he believed the claims are true. Kılıçdaroğlu said that when he read the column on the newspaper, he was not “surprised” and thought “it could be true.”
“The ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] has a team to stir a row within the CHP ahead of the party congress,” the CHP leader said, referring to a grand convention set to take place in the coming months.
He said he has an idea on who it could be but declined to name the person.
Turan later said that his source of information was journalist Talat Atilla. Turan directly named Muharrem İnce, a former contender of CHP leadership, ex-presidential candidate and longtime CHP member, as the visitor of the president.
Atilla wrote that for the alleged visit, the CHP member used two different cars from the entrances and exits of the complex discreetly.
Attila, in his article, said a source within the CHP told him about the alleged meeting. He went further saying that Kılıçdaroğlu confirmed this claim.
But, speaking to daily Hürriyet, the CHP leader denied Atilla’s claims and said he had no contact with the journalist, having not spoken to him in seven years.
Recalling his remarks on Fox TV, Kılıçdaroğlu said it did not come as a surprise to him because he believed Erdoğan wanted to intervene in the internal affairs of the CHP.
“I’ve also been hearing people say ‘some CHP members have gone to the [presidential] palace. If there is no evidence, they should not put forward these claims. I said they were just rumors. I don’t know the truth to these, and I said, ‘it could be true’ due to Erdoğan’s attempts to intervene in the CHP’s politics,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet.
“We know that Erdoğan has done many things to intervene in the party’s internal affairs, such as intervene in the Nation’s Alliance [opposition alliance], producing rumors and using state officials in this bid,” he stated.
Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the remarks made by İnce, saying they were only serving in favor of the presidency.
İnce said the “plot” was orchestrated against him by a CHP-led “gang,” not by his rivals.
“What our party has to do is find and punish the one in charge of this,” İnce said, speaking at a press conference at his house in the northwestern Yalova province on Nov. 24
Meanwhile, the CHP on Nov. 25 held a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting at the party’s headquarters in Ankara.
In a press conference after the meeting, CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak accused the government of “plotting” against the main opposition party.
The rumor of the alleged meeting between the CHP member and President Erdoğan aims to twist the country’s true agenda, which includes “covering up unemployment,” according to Öztrak.
The spokesperson also accused the government of scheming a “reputation assassination” against the CHP.