Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu has said he is receiving death threats following his remarks on the use of armed drones to kill civilians in the country’s southeast, reported Hurriyet daily news on Monday.
Tanrıkulu had voiced his concerns over claims that an armed drone in Hakkari province on August 31 shot four civilians and left one dead, drawing ire from both the Turkish military and the Turkish government. An Ankara prosecutor had also filed an indictment against Tanrıkulu on September 8.
Speaking in an interview with Deutsche Welle’s Turkish service on Sunday, Tanrıkulu has said that he was only able to file a criminal complaint regarding threats he found “serious” among thousands of them.
“There are thousands of threats, swearing and insults. There are those who are threatening me by calling my office in the Parliament and giving their names. After saying their names and surnames, they say ‘That lawmaker will see; we will call him to account.’ This is a very obvious threat. There are also those who are calling me on my mobile phone,” Tanrıkulu said.
The CHP deputy also added that he recently faced threats from a passenger who sat behind him during a flight, in what he called “the most sickening of the threats.” Tanrıkulu said the man had tweeted that he was sitting behind him, seeking support from followers to kill him. According to Tanrıkulu, the man, who had later been identified as a law lecturer in Ankara, did not apologize and that he filed a criminal complaint against him.
Asked whether he was concerned about his safety, Tanrıkulu said he had received many threats in the past and did not want to live in fear, while also being meticulous and cautious.
In a written statement on September 13, the Turkish General Staff had denied that it engaged in any action that would harm “any civilian and innocent citizens” throughout its history. On the same day, Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had also slammed Tanrıkulu, saying that the unmanned drones were working to “eliminate terrorists” who were betraying the country.