Turkish deputy PM threatens main opposition leader: He will be harmed if he doesn’t give up

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ on Sunday warned main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu that he could be harmed if he does not change his style of opposition, T24 reported.

Criticizing critical statements by Kılıçdaroğlu about a failed coup attempt in 2016, corruption operations of December 2013 and tax haven investments made by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family and close circle, Akdağ said: “Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu’s manner is pretty sleazy. He will be harmed if he doesn’t give it up.”

Calling the comments a threat to Kılıçdaroğlu, the CHP parliamentary group deputy chairman, Engin Özkoç, said they are prepared to sue Deputy Prime Minister Akdağ.

Akdağ also called on the CHP leader to act more like Devlet Bahçeli, the chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) who has recently been supportive of Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Akdağ’s remarks came one day after Erdoğan warned the CHP leader that time was running out for him.

“You will pay at court. Your day is approaching,” Erdoğan said on Saturday during a party meeting in Yalova province, accusing Kılıçdaroğlu of slandering his family with fake documents. “You cannot slander Erdoğan and his family by brandishing a handful of fake documents. The day is approaching when you will give your account at court. There he will see how his slanders are wrapped around his neck,” Erdoğan, the head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said at a public rally on Sunday.

The “fake documents” Erdoğan was referring to related to money transactions from Turkey to the tax-haven Isle of Man by the family members of Erdoğan in 2011 and 2012. The documents were publicized by Kılıçdaroğlu in mid-November, sparking fresh political tension between the two parties.

Speaking on Dec. 17, Erdoğan called Kılıçdaroğlu “ignorant,” accusing him of “slandering me and my family members.”

Erdoğan and his family members recently filed criminal complaints against Kılıçdaroğlu demanding up to 1.5 million Turkish Liras in compensation in relation to the accusations.

Meanwhile, AKP and CHP lawmakers continued to engage in brawls and angry quarrel over the weekend during budget talks at parliament, especially during deliberations on the budget of the Interior Ministry. The CHP had submitted a parliamentary motion against Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu over his “threatening and insulting” remarks targeting the main opposition leader, after he recently said “Kılıçdaroğlu: You are finished.”

CHP spokesman Bülent Tezcan accused Soylu of using “a third class mafia boss language,” while CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Özgür Özel recalled that Soylu only joined the AKP in the early 2010s after departing as leader of the Democrat Party.

Özel suggested that Soylu “joined the AKP upon Fethullah Gülen’s request as part of a project.”

In angry response delivered from the parliamentary lectern, Soylu denied having any links to Gülen movement. “I’m ready to resign if you can prove there is even one AKP deputy with ByLock on his phone,” he said. “I will quit politics on the same day as Erdoğan and I will never return again,” he added.

Testing President Erdoğan’s challenge that he would resign if anyone were to reveal any documents proving allegations that he has money in offshore tax havens, Kılıçdaroğlu on Nov. 28 said Erdoğan’s close circle sent about $15 million to an offshore company called Bellway Limited on the Isle of Man.

The CHP leader on Dec. 5 shared an intelligence report showing that President Erdoğan was warned about Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab’s relationships with several ministers.

In a report dated April 2013, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) warned then-Prime Minister Erdoğan about Zarrab’s corrupt relations with Turkish Cabinet members. MİT also told Erdoğan that the US could add Zarrab to the list of people who violated sanctions on Iran and that the revelation of Zarrab’s relations with Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Interior Minister Muammer Güler would be used against the government.

Underlining that the report was submitted to Erdoğan nine months before corruption operations that went public on Dec. 17, 2013, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “You [Erdoğan] closed the file. Your government worked with Zarrab. Your government betrayed the Republic of Turkey.”

Kılıçdaroğlu also enraged Erdoğan with his statements last year that a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 was a controlled attempt which was known by Erdoğan.

“A coup is controlled coup when it is known beforehand and not prevented and its results made use of,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on July 30. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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