Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), asked on Tuesday if it is the task of the intelligence agency to follow opposition campaigns, in response to remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicating that the intelligence service told him that all attendees of İnce’s Diyarbakır rally on Sunday were pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members.
İnce’s rally in Diyarbakır, where the CHP garnered only 1,6 percent of the vote in the Nov 1, 2015 elections, sparked excitement among party members due to the high attendance of local residents.
“He held a rally in Diyarbakır. According to information I received from the intelligence agency, all the participants were HDP members,” Erdoğan said on Tuesday during a campaign speech in Eskişehir.
Erdoğan also criticized İnce’s visit to the HDP’s jailed presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtaş, in Edirne Prison on May 9.
İnce on Tuesday responded to Erdoğan’s remarks on Twitter, saying attendees at his rallies were very diverse, including former Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters.
“The intelligence agency doesn’t dare share this information with you, so I am,” İnce tweeted.
“Because you use the intelligence agency for political purposes, you had to learn about the coup attempt from your brother-in-law,” İnce also added.
Erdoğan had said he learned about military activity at the beginning of a July 2016 coup attempt from his brother-in-law, Ziya İlgen.
CHP PROTESTS VICE PRINCIPAL FOR THREATENING TWEET
Meanwhile, CHP deputies and members on Tuesday protested a vice principal in front of the Tuzla Evliya Çelebi school after he posted a tweet threatening the attendees of a rally held by CHP presidential candidate İnce in Kadıköy on Friday, the Sözcü daily reported.
“On July 15 [when a coup attempt happened] we were empty handed, but this time our hands are full,” Aydın Şen, a teacher and the vice principal of the school, tweeted, comparing the crowd at İnce’s rally to putschists involved in the coup attempt in 2016.
On Friday evening, after Turkish police used excessive force to detain high school students protesting the Turkish education system, Kadıköy residents had gathered to protest the police while İnce at the same time held a rally in support of the students.
The pro-government media likened the protests and the rally to the Gezi Park protests of 2013.
CHP deputies Gürsel Tekin, Mahmut Tanal and Barış Yarkadaş attended the demonstration, where Tekin said officials like the vice principal have been conveying such messages from social media in order to get a promotion.
Tekin also highlighted the appointment of Şen as a poll station official by the Supreme Election Board (YSK), asking how they could trust such a person with the accuracy of vote tallies. (SCF with turkishminute.com)