Turkey’s ruling AKP member threatens main opposition CHP leader with death

Emrullah Kavuz, a local member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has threatened the main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. In a video clip widely shared on social media on June 21, Kavuz addresses to Kılıçdaroğlu for his role in the recently organized “March for Justice.”

“We are just waiting for a word from the Chief (Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) to move. With just a single word, let alone walking like you, we die, we run to be killed and kill if needed,” Kavuz heard shouting in the video.

Meanwhile, CHP local members in Rize province were attacked by a group of government supporters during small-scale “March for Jusstice” in the city. Organised by CHP’s local branches in Rize province, the Thursday parade was a protest in solidarity with those on walking from Ankara to İstanbul. The group, walking among several districts of Rize, gathered in front of the district governorship in Çayeli before being escorted out by police after government supporters attacked them. The pro-government group shouted slogans in favor of Erdoğan, local media reported.

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu has kicked off “March for Justice” last week with a 250-mile walk between Ankara and İstanbul, to protest the government’s post-coup rights violations following the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu. Holding a white banner that reads “justice” in red letters,  Kılıçdaroğlu told media that the group is marching in support of those who had been unjustly included in the government’s post-coup purge.

A high criminal court in İstanbul on Wednesday handed down a prison sentence of 25 years to Berberoğlu for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria, sending him to prison immediately after the ruling was announced.

When the MİT truck story first broke in 2015, it produced a political firestorm in Turkey about the role of the Turkish spy agency in arming rebel factions in Syria and prompted an investigation into Cumhuriyet daily journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, who published the report.

They were first jailed while facing trial on spy charges for publishing footage purporting to show the MİT transporting weapons to Syria in 2014. Later, the two journalists were released pending trial.

When Dündar later published a book titled “We Are Arrested,” he mapped out the details of the news story on May 27, 2015, saying that a leftist lawmaker brought the information to him. Upon that new revelation, the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office launched a new investigation and examined Dündar’s phone calls during the days leading up to the publication of the story.

The prosecutor’s office detected a phone conversation between CHP deputy Berberoğlu and Dündar on May 27. A new indictment was drafted for Berberoğlu.

The arrest of Berberoğlu, who would normally enjoy parliamentary immunity, was possible because the CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had lent support to a proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on removing the immunity deputies from prosecution last year.

Breaking his months-long silence about the arrest of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-Chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu has said that Demirtaş is a respectable politician and that he might visit him in prison.

The immunity of all deputies who face probes was lifted in May 2016. Currently, 11 HDP deputies are also in jail on charges of terrorist links. Demirtaş was arrested in November 2016 along with several other party deputies including the other co-chairperson, Figen Yüksekdağ, on terror charges.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, which claimed the lives of more than 240 people. Immediately after the coup attempt, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) declared a state of emergency on June 20, which is still in effect.

Kılıçdaroğlu refers to the declaration of the state of emergency as another coup because the government has jailed thousands of people and purged thousands of others from state posts on coup charges. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) June 23, 2017


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