Opposition blasts Erdoğan in row over release of Istanbul mayor’s son-in-law
ANKARAThe release from detention of Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş’s son-in-law Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı, who was previously detained over alleged links with Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), has sparked a war of words between opposition parties and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“It is neither reasonable nor logical to say that the ruling party was held responsible [for the release] while defending Kavurmacı. To reveal the political links of FETÖ is the primary duty of the political authority,”
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli posted on his official Twitter account on May 25.
He was tweeting after Erdoğan accused the opposition of “smearing” the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“Mr. President, as you know, law and justice should be implemented equally to everybody. Set Kavurmacı aside and look at the country instead,” Bahçeli added.
“Look at this, there are no politicians accused of being FETÖ members!” the MHP leader had said on May 23 at a meeting with party members in parliament.
“There is no need to confuse people and protect influential people in the fight against FETÖ,” he had said, referring to Kavurmacı.
On May 24 Erdoğan blasted Bahçeli for his criticisms, slamming what he described as a “smear campaign.”
“Holding the ruling party responsible for [the release], even if [Kavurmacı] does not have any place or relation to the party, is outrageous. They should first of all mind their own party, clean out their own party,” he said.
“There is a principle in law, the accuser is responsible for proving their accusations. If you know who it is, reveal it,” he added.
In response, MHP head Bahçeli described Erdoğan’s comments as “saddening and problematic in tone,” arguing that the government has a list of FETÖ affiliated people in political circles and has the responsibility to reveal it.
“Who rules the state is clear. The government has a list of names who have an affiliation with FETÖ. It is not proof that should be discussed, it is action,” he said.
“[Erdoğan] said we should mind our own business. If they personally give me a list of FETÖ members, they will see what I do,” he added.
The MHP and the AKP both campaigned in favor of the constitutional amendment paving the way for an executive presidential system, which was narrowly approved in the referendum on April 16
CHP leader: ‘Release is under political instructions’
Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has argued that the release of Kavurmacı is “politically motivated.”
“There is not any independence of the judiciary in Turkey. While there are nearly 159 journalists in prison, arrested on made-up justifications, we cannot accept the release of one person and for that to be overlooked. The release of this person has entirely taken place under the expectations and instructions of the political authority,” Kılıçdaroğlu stated.
Kavurmacı was arrested as part of an operation against the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), which was affiliated with FETÖ, before being released by the Istanbul Fifth Criminal Court of Peace on the grounds that prison conditions were having a negative effect on his health. Kavurmacı was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005.