Turkish PM calls for evidence, as CHP insists on existence of ‘intel plot’

Turkish PM calls for evidence, as CHP insists on existence of ‘intel plot’

Turkish PM calls for evidence, as CHP insists on existence of ‘intel plot’

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu speaks during his party's parliamentary group meeting, Nov. 18. AA Photo

Turkey’s prime minister has challenged the main opposition leader to prove with concrete evidence his claims that the government and the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) are conspiring to create intra-party divisions, while the Republican People’s Party (CHP) head maintained that the plot against the CHP has already been documented.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu suggested that the claims were an attempt by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to cover up his political failures.

“Doesn’t MİT have anything else to deal with? You are already divided [within yourself],” Davutoğlu said on Nov. 23, referring to recent internal turmoil within the CHP, in a speech delivered in the Eastern Anatolian province of Erzincan, where he attended a provincial congress of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“The MİT can save our citizens abroad, but it cannot save the CHP,” he added sarcastically, referring to the freeing of 46 Turkish citizens, including Öztürk Yılmaz, the consul general in Mosul, and three Iraqi staff members who were kidnapped on June 11 by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Their 101 days in captivity finished with a happy ending on Sept. 20, following a secret operation conducted by the MİT.

“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, if you have evidence in your hands, then you should come up and prove [the plot]. If you cannot prove it then you are a slanderer, engaged in treason aimed at weakening state institutions,” Davutoğlu had said earlier, while delivering a speech in another Eastern Anatolian province, Ağrı, on Nov. 22.

However, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu has responded by saying documents showing that the MİT had “blacklisted” a number of CHP deputies, keeping records of their personal and political background information, as was reported by the media in the autumn of 2013.

“On which ground has the MİT been blacklisting CHP deputies?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked on Nov. 23, speaking during a visit to the Mediterranean province of Antalya. “The documents were published in newspapers. What more should we do?”

“Yes, we should all be careful,” the CHP leader also said, in reference to Davutoğlu’s call to be careful while speaking of state institutions.

“However, we have arrived at a point where a group within the MİT is serving the AKP. The peculiarity of the German intelligence organization Gestapo was that it was giving intelligence to the government, but not to the state. When I say the government, I mean the ruling party. If an institution of the state is coming to the point of serving a party, then this would not be right,” he added.

President urges avoidance of ‘politics based on misgivings’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also waded into the debate, calling on Kılıçdaroğlu to abandon “politics based on misgivings.”

“Politics are not conducted through misgivings. The MİT has never been involved in separating this or that party and cannot be involved. The MİT is not an institution working for any one party, including the ruling party,” Erdoğan told a small group of journalists on board his presidential jet.

“The MİT is a state institution that collects information from abroad for protecting national interests. There is a need to avoid statements that would bring the MİT under suspicion,” Erdoğan said late on Nov. 21, returning from Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, to Istanbul, after attending the Second Africa-Turkey Summit.