Fight between Turkish opposition, interior minister gets personal

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and members of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have engaged in a war of words over recent days, with CHP spokesman Bülent Tezcan most recently calling for Soylu to get his mental health checked, Cumhuriyet newspaper said.

“The people have a right to know whether the minister to whom this power is entrusted has his mental health or not,” Tezcan said.

“We are facing the rottenness of having someone talking like a mafia don under the protection of his state office in the ministerial seat.”

Soylu had interpreted an ambiguous statement by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as a threat to hang the staff at a pro-government television channel.

“He threatened institutions, all of us with hanging. And yesterday he attacked me in person, saying ‘I won’t hang you, I will humiliate you’,” Soylu said.

“Kılıçdaroğlu, your mind is rotten and your string is about to break. Kılıçdaroğlu, I’m saying this very clearly, you’re finished.”

Kılıçdaroğlu had responded to pro-government television channel AHaber’s claim that the government should have put a medal of honour around the neck of Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, who is currently embroiled in a sanctions case in the United States, with the words “I know well what I would put around your neck, you are a traitor”.

Soylu’s response to this was to say, “If you cannot prove the (Erdoğan family) money on the Isle of Man, you’ll see what we’ll put around your neck.”

Kılıçdaroğlu last month presented documents to party members and the media that he said were bank receipts proving that Erdoğan family members had been sent millions of dollars from companies based on the Isle of Man.