Turkish PM’s attack on Sarıgül shows his panic over Istanbul mayoral race: CHP

Turkish PM’s attack on Sarıgül shows his panic over Istanbul mayoral race: CHP

Okan Konuralp ANKARA - Hürriyet
Turkish PM’s attack on Sarıgül shows his panic over Istanbul mayoral race: CHP

Mustafa Sarıgül, the main opposition CHP’s candidate for Istanbul mayor, welcomes his supporters at Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Sports Hall in this file photo. AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attack over graft against Mustafa Sarıgül, the main opposition candidate for Istanbul mayor, is a sign of his panic at the prospect of losing elections in Turkey’s largest city, the party’s leader has said, denying the allegations against the candidate.

“He feels panic as he sees that our Istanbul candidate, Mustafa Sarıgül, will win the elections. That’s why he is attacking Sarıgül to tarnish his image. It’s not going to be Erdoğan who will benefit from this effort but Sarıgül,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet yesterday.

Erdoğan showed a document during a speech to his supporters in Istanbul on Jan. 26, claiming it was a corruption report on Sarıgül prepared by a commission established by the CHP in November 2004. The move came as part of a quarrel between the government and main opposition party over an ongoing graft and corruption probe against the ruling party.

“This is only a desperate effort to cover up his corruption. Prosecutors declared they would proceed no further with regard to these arguments [against Sarıgül],” Kılıçdaroğlu said, criticizing the premier for misinforming the public.

“He is the prime minister; why did he not clamp down on corruption if he is aware of such cases? Who stopped him from doing so?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked, adding that the CHP had always been calling on all governments to fight against graft. “But he cannot say so. He is a prime minister who is trying to cover up the largest graft and corruption operation in our history because he is the chief thief, along with his family.”

The idea of losing Istanbul was a great concern for Erdoğan, who is the de facto mayor of the country’s largest metropolis, because the city is a major financial source for him, the CHP leader said. “Erdoğan is the prime minister and at the same time the mayor of Istanbul. He is afraid that his sultanate will collapse.”

CHP welcomes parliamentary speaker’s initiative

In the meantime, the CHP welcomed Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek’s proposal to establish a parliamentary commission on the government’s plans to amend the law on the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

“The parliamentary speaker has to conduct another round of meetings with deputy parliamentary group leaders. If all parties agree on it, then it should immediately be put into effect. Turkey needs this; Turkey needs justice,” deputy leader Faruk Loğoğlu said at a press conference.

But Çiçek’s proposal has not been endorsed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Yusuf Halaçoğlu, the party’s deputy parliamentary group leader, said they rejected the idea of an inter-party commission for just one constitutional article.

“We are neither for constitutional nor legal change on the HSYK. We do not accept any change to this law,” he said.