Prosecutor who summoned Turkish main opposition leader says matter is being ‘exaggerated’
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was reportedly summoned over his remarks questioning the connection of Bilal Erdoğan's foundation with the graft allegations. DHA PhotoThe prosecutor who sparked controversy by sending a summons “by mistake” to the main opposition leader, Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, said the matter had been “exaggerated." In an extensive written statement released on May 2, he also confirmed that the plaintiff was the Turkish prime minister’s son, Bilal Erdoğan.
“The matter has been disproportionately exaggerated. Although sent by mistake, there was an invitation. [Kılıçdaroğlu] choose not to come, and the subject is closed. We have not issued an order to bring him, or arrest him, we have not made an interrogation and we have not attributed an inexistent crime [to him]. So there is nothing to exaggerate,” said prosecutor Mehmet Demir, who had been removed from the case by the Istanbul Prosecutor’s after the summoning.
While confirming that the complaint against Kılıçdaroğlu on insult charges had been filed by Erdoğan, Demir said he had overlooked that Kılıçdaroğlu was a deputy, which confers him immunity from prosecution. Demir also rejected the notion that summoning the CHP leader was a breach of the Constitution as many politicians, including the spokesperson of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP), have claimed, underlining that Kılıçdaroğlu had been “invited for a settlement.”
“There is no harm in the invitation. If there was an order for a testimony, that would be incompatible with immunity. But inviting [Kılıçdaroğlu], particularly for a settlement, is not contrary to parliamentary immunity, hence the Constitution. But the opposite of this interpretations is also a point of view,” Demir said.
In his statement, Demir also hinted that the reason his summons had received wide reactions were his previous comments and writings describing the graft probe as a “coup plot attempt” or calling for the end of demonstrations during the Gezi Park protests.
“It is not fair to make some conclusions by those writings and stigmatize me,” Demir said.
The incident triggered angered reactions within the main opposition, particularly after the plaintiff was revealed to be Bilal Erdoğan, who is facing significant allegations of corruption and being investigated as part of the second graft probe launched on Dec. 25, 2013.
According to legal procedures, prosecutors have to send a summary of proceedings to Parliament in order to request the investigation of any deputy as a suspect.