Turkish gov’t uncomfortable with ‘FETÖ-linked interior minister,’ CHP deputy claims
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is “uncomfortable” with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Group Chair Özgür Özel has said, as a bitter war of words between the CHP and Soylu continues.
Özel, who has repeatedly accused Soylu of links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), alleged that the minister met with the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen months before joining the AKP, calling on Soylu to clarify the issue.
“If Soylu doesn’t answer our questions within a week, then we will present [incriminating] documents in the censure motion talks,” Özel told parliament during budget talks on Dec. 18, adding that the CHP was waiting for answers on whether the minister had gone to Pennsylvania to visit Gülen.
“There are answers we expect, but which Süleyman doesn’t give. We need to tell Süleyman this: If you don’t answer these questions when the censure motion comes next week, we’ll request the dates one more time, asking you to prove your whereabouts. You know the dates and so do I. If you say: ‘I didn’t go [to visit Gülen],’ I’ll announce the date,” he also said.
During earlier days of the budget talks, Özel alleged that Soylu was a “FETÖ project” aiming to make him AKP leader after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Responding angrily from the parliamentary lectern, Soylu denied any links to FETÖ, the group widely believed to have been behind the 2016 failed coup attempt.
“I will quit politics on the same day as Tayyip Erdoğan and never go back,” Soylu said.
During his speech, Özel also commented on bank documents that allegedly detail multi-million dollar transactions between the offshore company Bellway Ltd. and Erdoğan’s inner circle.
Last month CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu claimed that Erdoğan’s inner circle, including his family members, have conducted lucrative financial transactions with a company based on the Isle of Man tax haven.
Özel on Dec. 18 said the AKP decided not to comment on the issue in order to keep it off the agenda, but that only Soylu insisted on talking about the documents.