MHP official files criminal complaint against Kılıçdaroğlu over claims of gov’t- Gülen links

An official with Turkey’s ruling coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has filed a criminal complaint against the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over his claim that more than 100 lawmakers with the ruling party used an encrypted communication app utilised almost exclusively by the members of a religious group accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt.

The criminal complaint filed by Salih Akça, the district chairman of MHP in Akşehir in the central province of Konya, was sparked by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim that between 120 -180 lawmakers with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have used the ByLock app, news site Diken reported on Saturday.

Kılıçdaroğlu first  called on the government to release the names of the lawmakers, which used the app on April 3, 2017 and has repeated the call since. 

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a religious group and former AKP ally, of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt, which killed 250 people and injured over 1,000, as the culmination of a long-running scheme to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

In the purge that followed the 2016 coup, many were detained purely because they were found to have the ByLock app on their phones. 

The main opposition CHP has intensified a campaign against unveiling what it calls the political establishment of the Gülen movement. The party last week called for a parliamentary investigation into the political leg of the organisation. The ruling AKP  rejected the call.