Turkey’s main opposition leader says he is not intimidated by Erdoğan’s arrest threats

Turkey's autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition CHP's leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

In response to threats of arrest made by Turkey’s autocratic President and Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he is ready for anything and is not intimidated by Erdoğan’s threats, the Hürriyet Daily News reported on Monday.

Following Erdoğan’s remarks, which implied that Kılıçdaroğlu could stand trial in connection to the case of arrested CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “When you look at the past, just as coup leaders could arbitrarily apprehend anybody and easily put them behind bars, our dictator thinks he has the same authority. ‘I will make the arrest, the judiciary is under my orders, I can send him to jail,’ is how he thinks. We will not be intimidated. You might ask where this self-confidence is coming from — that is because no crime has been committed. The Constitutional Court ruled on that [espionage] case, saying it was not a state secret and that the information was open to public knowledge.”

Berberoğlu was arrested in June immediately after he was handed down a prison sentence of 25 years for leaking information for a news report on MİT trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

Underlining that he is ready for anything, Kılıçdaroğlu said his arrest would increase his party’s power.

“Each coup creates its own laws and courts, his police can detain and arrest as well. It is not right to see these [Erdoğan’s] words as unserious. I said it before, no one’s life or property is secure in Turkey. When I say no one, it includes me, too,” added Kılıçdaroğlu.

Responding to remarks made by CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu over the possibility of his arrest, Erdoğan has said Kılıçdaroğlu’s arrest is not on his agenda. Erdoğan’s remarks came on Monday during a press conference at İstanbul Atatürk Airport before a trip to Jordan.

“I don’t see these things as worth considering. Kılıçdaroğlu is preparing for something that is not certain to happen. He is making up these things to be able to keep himself on the public agenda. I don’t have anything like that on my agenda,” said Erdoğan.

Kılıçdaroğlu has been targeted by Erdoğan since he launched a March of Justice in June to protest the arrest of Berberoğlu.

During the CHP’s March of Justice, Erdoğan implied that Kılıçdaroğlu could be detained or brought before a court to testify for holding the march.

Erdoğan recently slammed Kılıçdaroğlu for remarks made to German Focus magazine warning tourists against travel to Turkey and said that “he will pay the price.”

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Şanlıurfa deputy and spokesperson Osman Baydemir on Thursday said it would be no surprise if Kılıçdaroğlu were to be arrested.

Staunchly pro-government Yeni Akit daily columnist Mehtap Yılmaz in a Monday article called for the arrest of the CHP leader and three CHP deputies.

Accusing Kılıçdaroğlu of “explicitly committing crimes,” “serving the Middle Eastern goals of the European Union by defaming his country” and “supporting putschists,” Yılmaz said the CHP leader has to be thrown out on in his ear and put in jail.  (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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