Apr 13 2018

Opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu defiant after prosecutor moves against him

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s largest opposition party, made an enthusiastic speech to his party’s mayors after Turkish prosecutors announced their intention to charge him with insulting the president, the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reported on Friday.

Prosecutors have moved to lift Kılıçdaroğlu’s immunity, which will require a parliamentary vote, in order to charge him with insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu accused Erdoğan and his family members of numerous counts of corruption.

The opposition leader took his statements in response to the prosecutors’ 11-page summary of charges as an opportunity to fire a broadside at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, accusing it of mismanaging the economy and repressing dissent.

Kılıçdaroğlu touched on the state of emergency, in place since shortly after a failed coup attempt in July 2016. The state of emergency was extended for a further three months on Friday, the seventh extension since it began.

“The state of emergency is for your opponenets, for people raising dissenting voices, for us,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

The CHP leader went on to attack the AKP government on a range of issues, particularly the economy, implying that due to Turkey’s ailing economy, the country was becoming beholden to foreign creditors.

Moreover, the government had taken dangerous steps by seeking to dominate the country’s media, said Kılıçdaroğlu, referring to the recent purchase of Turkey’s last quasi-independent media company by a pro-government businessman in March.

Kılıçdaroğlu, who many expect to run in presidential elections due in Turkey before November 2019, added that “at least 60 percent” of Turks would “vote for democracy” in the upcoming elections, by implication repeating an earlier statement where he declared that his party would win by a landslide.