Dec 13 2017

Criminal investigation launched against Turkish opposition leader, MPs

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and MPs will be investigated for their political speeches.

Ankara prosecutor’s office said an investigation is launched on Kılıçdaroğlu for his remarks that questioned the validity of April 16 constitutional referendum on extending Erdoğan’s executive powers and summary of proceedings prepared.

Near the end of voting, the Supreme Electoral Board of Turkey had issued a decision to accept unstamped ballot papers.

Kılıçdaroğlu has said:

We have sent our election observers to polls, except those in rural areas in southeast Turkey. There were security problems there, and those ballot boxes turned out 90 per cent Yes vote. We are guessing why. We also collected 74 per cent of tally sheets in the party headquarters to protect our votes. But we couldn’t foresee that the electoral board could issue a decision against the law. We couldn’t imagine it.

Ankara prosecutor also launched an investigation on CHP deputy Özgür Özel for his speech at the parliament where he brought the computer of a parliament employee after breaking the door of their office. Özel has said the employee sent defaming messages about Kılıçdaroğlu over social media, and his supervisors did not act upon CHP’s several complaints.

A third criminal investigation was launched against Sezgin Tanrıkulu, an Istanbul deputy for CHP. Tanrıkulu has said one of Turkish military’s drone strikes killed civilians in Hakkari, and demanded an investigation.

Tanrıkulu has also shared the photo of civilians taken at the same place during a picnic, a few weeks prior to the aerial attack.

Turkey's main opposition party has supported the government bid to lift the immunity from prosecution in 2016. Since then, dozens of parliamentarians have been arrested, and put in the jail. Among them were the co-chairs of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which is the second largest opposition party at the Turkish Parliament.

Besides CHP, Ankara prosecutor also launched criminal investigations against two MPs from HDP.

Diyarbakır deputy Sibel Yiğitalp is investigated for one of her tweets that criticised jail sentences given to Kurdish journalists. She wrote “There are Kurds, but their politics and their politicians are banned. There are Kurds, but their language, their history, their schools are prohibited. ‘Be proud of your Kurdishness’.”

A second investigation against HDP’s Batman deputy Ayşe Acar Başaran is based on Penal Code art. 301 that criminalises “insulting Turkish people, Turkish state or institutions.” Başaran is accused of violating the law by a speech she made in her party’s province office in Antalya.