We’re not afraid of your courts or police: CHP head
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for putting pressure on the judiciary to oppress the CHP, expressing the party’s aim to sweep the big cities in the upcoming local elections despite recent investigations.
“Neither your judges nor your prosecutors nor your police nor anyone else scare us. Because our struggle is for our rights,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Jan. 6, speaking at the CHP’s Congress at Ankara.
He first criticized the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) for recent changes to the judges in the ongoing MİT trucks case, in which CHP Istanbul lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu is being tried.
“If you change the judges in the middle of the night, those judges’ decisions will not be just. Do not transform the Board of Judges and Prosecutors into the Board of Palace Judges. Be fair,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The head and judge of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice where Berberoğlu is being retried for “leaking state secrets” were changed by the HSK on Dec. 28.
Kılıçdaroğlu has also blasted the suits filed against his name over charges of “insulting the presidential office,” or for non-pecuniary damages, as well as changes in the judges of related cases.
“The decision of one judge has made the [Presidential] Palace uncomfortable. [They say] that judge may reject the suit filed against Kılıçdaroğlu. Let’s change that judge in the middle of the night so that the new judge may convict Kılıçdaroğlu for damages,” he said.
“If you do not convict me, you are despicable,” he added sarcastically.
Referring to the recent investigations on CHP lawmakers and mayors, Kılıçdaroğlu defended his party members, stating that “we account for anything.”
“You cannot find anything, not even a pinhead,” he said.
The CHP’s Istanbul Beşiktaş district mayor Murat Hazinedar was dismissed by the Interior Ministry on Jan. 4 while the Ataşehir district mayor Battal İlgezdi was dismissed on Dec. 8.
Kılıçdaroğlu has argued that the dismissals “aim to change the political agenda.”
“The government is trying to redirect discussion to another area by dismissing our mayors. Of course, this makes us uncomfortable. But nobody can distract us from Turkey’s real agenda,” he said, stressing the economic problems faced by large segments of society as “the real agenda.”
He said the CHP aims to win major cities in the upcoming local elections, especially Istanbul and the capital Ankara, where the ruling AKP has governed for more than 20 years.
“We will win Balıkesir, Antalya, Bursa, Mersin, Adana, Denizli and especially Ankara and Istanbul. Nobody should doubt that,” he said.
Erdoğan hints at follow-up investigations
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized Kılıçdaroğlu for his challenge to AKP rule in major cities, implying that Kılıçdaroğlu is “not realistic.”
“Kılıçdaroğlu is used to getting his news from nowhere,” he said, adding that local elections are 14 months away, and that the AKP is determined to take the major cities.
Referring to the CHP’s criticisms of recent dismissals and investigations in CHP municipalities, Erdoğan said the government would “clamp down on misconduct or corruption wherever it lies.”
The president has also hinted at possible future investigations into complaints about misconduct, stating that complainants are often reluctant to come forward out of fear of repercussions.
“No matter where it comes from, either from my own party or other parties, we have to bring this to a certain point,” he said.
“Kılıçdaroğlu’s biggest skill is to defend corruption. We have seen how he defended Ataşehir. Now he is defending Beşiktaş,” he said.
“There is nothing forgivable about his attitude towards Beşiktaş. This will come clear soon,” he added.