President, CHP leader in fresh row over judicial interference
ANKARAPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of “lying” after the latter accused the government of pressuring Turkey’s judiciary.
“If you have something to prove, the claimant is obliged to prove their claims. Prove your claims,” Erdoğan said late on June 20.
His comments came as Kılıçdaroğlu continues his march from Ankara to Istanbul in protest at rights violations, prompted by the jailing of CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu on June 14.
Criticizing the CHP leader for “not respecting judicial independence” and himself trying to pressure the judiciary, Erdoğan described the march as “illegal” and said the CHP leader could only march “thanks to the blessing of the AKP government.”
Kılıçdaroğlu had lashed out at Erdoğan on June 20, at a parliamentary group meeting held outdoors on the outskirts of Ankara, arguing that it is the AKP government “that puts the judiciary under pressure by giving directives.”
Reading the Turkey’s Constitution’s Article 138, which regulates the judicial independence, Kılıçdaroğlu challenged Erdoğan to resign.
“I am making a call to the gentleman who reminded me of Article 138. If I prove that you and your government have sent instructions and given orders to judges and courts, will you resign from your post like an honorable and respectable person?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked.
In response on June 21, Erdoğan accusing him of “lying.”
“It is not your first [lie]. How many times you have said such things up to now. Everybody in this country knows that you are a lying machine,” he said.
“He is challenging me, but the public knows you won’t keep your promises,” Erdoğan added.