Main opposition CHP leader slams government for manipulating court

Main opposition CHP leader slams government for manipulating court

Main opposition CHP leader slams government for manipulating court

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu adresses public at a rally of his party. AA Photo

An audio recording of an alleged conversation between the prime minister and the former justice minister has provided more ammunition to main opposition Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu leader who continued pounding the country’s leader over increasing authoritarianism at a rally on March 4.

Speaking at a party rally in the Thracian province of Tekirdağ, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu also warned people against any kind of provocation, including a fake assassination attempt against Erdoğan.

“This ‘Chief Thief’ calls the then-justice minister. He says, ‘Look, there is a case.’ He says: ‘That case is before a court, follow it, where will the hearing be? He says, ‘Have [the court] make such a decision,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to a recently released audio recording of an alleged conversation between Erdoğan and then-Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin during which the two talked about a court case against Aydın Doğan.

During the alleged conversation, Erdoğan apparently recommended intervening at the court in order to get a ruling against Doğan, honorary president of the Doğan Group of Companies and the chairman of the Aydın Doğan Foundation.

During the rally, the CHP leader mostly used the epithet, “This Man,” for Erdoğan as his party has already announced that it has stopped prefixing the name of Turkey’s leader with either “Prime Minister” or “Mr.” following the corruption and bribery allegations that recently surfaced.

“What was he speaking of? He was speaking of the separation of powers; the legislative, executive and judicial. He doesn’t believe in these. He is a liar, and he is a fraud,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

In the run-up to local elections on March 30, recently released audio recordings, including an alleged conversation between Erdoğan and his son discussing how to hide large amounts of money, have shaken the country which was already in political turmoil due to the massive graft probe involving governmental figures and businesspersons close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Kılıçdaroğlu labeled Erdoğan “an enemy of democracy,” saying, “He is engaged in a special struggle to reach his prime goals: to destroy democracy, destroy the equality of women and men and turn the courts into his backyard.”

Erdoğan should not and cannot continue occupying the prime minister’s seat after the revelation of such a conversation, he said.

“His occupation of that seat means a massacre of law and justice. This man is a killer of law,” said Kılıçdaroğlu, while recalling how Erdoğan underlined the democratic aspect of Turkey during a recent visit to Brussels and how he suggested that the “executive cannot interfere in the judiciary.”

All audio recordings that have surfaced have proven him right, Kılıçdaroğlu said, since he displayed the recordings as evidence of the fact that Erdoğan is “a liar.”

“We should all think thoroughly. The country is heading in a different direction. We have a solution within democracy. We will go to the ballot box on the 30th. In the name of a clean and beautiful Turkey, we shall not be used as a tool for provocations. Big provocations may be carried out shortly,” he said, noting that those provocations included fake assassination attempts against Erdoğan.

Recalling an armed attack against Erdoğan’s convoy in the northern province of Tokat in the run-up to parliamentary elections in June 2011, Kılıçdaroğlu said he could not say whether or not it was fake. “I just say, ‘See the truth.’ They may make every kind of provocation.”

Statement from International Press Institute

The executive director of the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), Alison Bethel McKenzie, has sent the following statement to Hürriyet regarding the latest wiretapped phone call of an alleged conversation between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin:

“Allegations that the prime minister asked the then-justice minister to interfere in a legal proceeding, and that the justice minister promised to use his influence to pressure the judiciary to deliver a desired result, are nothing less than shocking.

“When IPI in recent years urged Turkey’s government to drop criminal cases against journalists, government representatives repeatedly declined to do so, arguing that they did not want to interfere with the independence of the judiciary. Out which window did that argument go?

“If true, these new claims that the government could not only influence such proceedings, but was perfectly willing to do so in such a blatant manner, not only undermine press freedom, but also represent a dangerous threat to the rule of law and to democracy itself.

“We urge the prime minister to disavow these comments, and to take immediate and public steps to restore confidence that his government will respect the independence of the judiciary.”