Turkish President Erdoğan’s nationalist ally Bahçeli visits jailed crime gang leader Çakıcı

The Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli, the ultranationalist ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Wednesday visited Alaattin Çakıcı, a crime gang leader who has been convicted of a number of crimes, at a hospital in the central province of Kırıkkale, according to messages from the party’s Twitter account on Wednesday.

Çakıcı, who is serving time in a Kırıkkale prison, was hospitalized five days ago.

“Our chairman, Mr. Devlet Bahçeli, is visiting ailing Alaattin Çakıcı at the Kırıkkale Hospital,” MHP Deputy Chairman Semih Yalçın tweeted, sharing photos from the visit. Bahçeli reportedly gave prayer beads to Çakıcı as a present.

Wednesday evening, Bahçeli defended his visit to hospitalized mafia leader Çakıcı, stating that the convicted mafia figure “has fought for the nation and people” and is “not as criminal as (pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate) Selahattin Demirtaş.”

“Alaattin has fought for this nation and people many times in some ways. Those who rule the state and others know this,” Bahçeli told a group of journalist at an iftar dinner on Wednesday.

The MHP leader once more criticized the opposition party leaders and presidential candidates for their call for the release of Demirtaş on the grounds that he had not been convicted and officially announced as the presidential candidate.

“He [Çakıcı] is not as criminal as Demirtaş. Five political parties have queued and have made efforts for his release. If they are not criticized, then why is Alaattin?” Bahçeli asked.

“You release those who have betrayed the state from prison and keep an individual who has started to suffer from health issues in a prison and call him mafia without considering this,” Bahçeli added.

Çakıcı has been convicted of establishing and leading a criminal organization, masterminding a murder, instigating assault and insulting President Erdoğan, with each carrying a lengthy prison sentence.

In a controversial move earlier this month, Bahçeli called for amnesty for Çakıcı and Kürşat Yılmaz, another notorious gang leader. His call was turned down by President Erdoğan. “Mr. Bahçeli’s demand, or offer, is his own. Right now we and our government are certainly not considering any such thing,” Erdoğan said.

“If men who are in love with their homeland and ideals, who are known to be the brave and fearless men of their mission, such as Alattin Çakıcı or Kürşat Yılmaz, were presented as candidates by the signatures of 100,000 nationalists, would there be such a petition for their release?” Bahçeli had said.

In 1995, Çakıcı was convicted of instigating the murder of his wife in front of their son, Onur Özbizerdik. He was put on trial when he returned to Turkey and found guilty of instigating his ex-wife’s murder and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

He is also convicted of several crimes, including organizing and leading a crime syndicate for the purpose of generating profit, instigating murder, instigating injury, and insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The mafia leader was hospitalized on May 17 and was taken to the hospital from the prison in the Black Sea province of Bolu.

Bahçeli has formed an alliance with the ruling the Justice and Development Party (AKP) ahead of snap presidential and general elections on June 24. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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