Turkey’s Erdoğan slams former President Gül over his criticisms against gov’t decree for impunity

Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday lambasted former President Abdullah Gül for his call on the government to revise a new state of emergency decree that gives immunity and impunity to civilians who take part in thwarting coup and terror incidents, saying “Shame on you!” the Diken news website reported.

“Are not we friends for a common cause? How could you embark on the boat of Kemal [the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu]? Shame on you!” said Erdoğan during a Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting in Kastamonu province.

According to Article 121 of decree No. 696, which was released on Dec. 24, regardless of an official title or duties or the lack thereof, people who played a role in the suppression of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and subsequent events and terrorist activities will be exempt from criminal liability.

Former President Abdullah Gül on Saturday said he will continue expressing his views, responding to veiled criticism coming from the ruling AKP over a debate on the controversial emergency decree. “As someone who believes in freedom of throught and expression –founding principles of our party, I will continue to express my view in situatons I find necessary,” Gül wrote, referring to the AKP.

Gül also said, he was being targeted since the latest row between himself and AKP over the decree numbered 696. “I would like to draw attention to the increasing number of unethical and disrespectful attacks I have been subjected to by certain members of the Parliament and some trolls since my latest comments (on the decree),” Gül wrote on his Twitter account.

Gül had also responded on Friday to early criticism from within the AKP against his views on a controversial recent state of emergency decree law, saying it is his duty to comment on important matters. “I am a former president who has spent his entire life serving the government and society. Of course it is my duty to share my vision and ideas about important matters,” Gül told reporters after Friday prayers. “I believe it is nonsense to seek ulterior motives here,” he added.

“The ambiguity that does not comply with legal parlance in the text of state of emergency decree No. 696, which I think was released to protect the hero citizens who took to the streets to resist a traitorous coup attempt on July 15, is worrisome in terms of a state of law,” Gül said in a tweet.

“I hope to see its revision in order to avoid giving an opportunity to events and developments that could sadden all of us,” he added.

Erdoğan’s reprimand is also considered to be targeting Bülent Arınç, one of the founders of the AKP, who retweeted Gül’s tweet.


Meanwhile, Erdoğan has also directly targeted CHP Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu on Saturday, saying he supports all terrorist organizations in Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“This person [Kılıçdaroğlu] has never defended the rights of our nation and state. He has always been after unrest and division. He has supported all terrorist organizations,” said Erdoğan during a Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting in Kastamonu province.

On Saturday the pro-Erdoğan Sabah, Star, Güneş, Akşam and Milat dailies also targeted Kılıçdaroğlu on their front pages, accusing him of being a spokesman for coup plotters and the faith-based Gülen movement.

Not one citizen has safety of life and property in this country, Kılıçdaroğlu said on Saturday as addressing a crowd in the southern province of Adana. Criticizing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and especially the ongoing state of emergency since the failed July 15, 2016 coup, Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey is no longer democracy.

“If members of the parliament are imprisoned, there’s no democracy there. If journalists are imprisoned in a country, there’s no democracy there. If civic leaders are imprisoned in a country, there’s no democracy there,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, addressing the crowd at the party’s provincial congress.

If a political authority calls the shots on criminal procedures, citizens are unsafe, Kılıçdaroğlu said. “If it is a political entity and not the judges who makes legal decisions, there is no safety of life and property in the country,” CHP head said.

Kılıçdaroğlu calls the July 15, 2016 coup attempt a controlled coup: “A coup is a controlled coup when it is known beforehand, not prevented and its results made use of.”

The CHP has recently criticized Erdoğan and the government for a new state of emergency decree issued on Dec. 24 that gives immunity to civilians who take part in thwarting coup and terror incidents and stipulates that all convicts and suspects under arrest for alleged crimes against the constitutional order in Turkey wear jumpsuits identifying their supposed crime.

Erdoğan on Friday filed a lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu for TL 250,000 in non-pecuniary damages for violating his personal rights during speeches on Dec. 22 and Dec. 24, 2017.

Erdoğan and members of his family on Dec. 1 filed a lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu for TL 1.5 million ($380,000) in damages for creating hatred in society against the president and his family during a speech on Nov. 28.

Kılıçdaroğlu said during his party meeting in Parliament on Nov. 28 that Erdoğan’s brother-in-law, brother, son and son’s father-in-law and his former executive assistant sent about $15 million to an offshore company called Bellway, Ltd., on the Isle of Man between December 2011 and January 2012.

On Nov. 24 Erdoğan filed another lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu for TL 1.5 million in non-pecuniary damages due to a speech on Nov. 21. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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