Jun 11 2018

Main opposition candidate files lawsuit against Turkish president

Main opposition candidate: I want to solve Kurdish problem

Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has vowed to address issues crucial to Turkey’s large Kurdish minority during a rally on Monday in Diyarbakır, the largest city in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeast.

Of major importance to many natives of Diyarbakır was İnce’s vow to allow children to be taught in their mother tongue, a central issue for the Kurdish political movement that has remained unresolved over 16 years of AKP rule, despite reforms which relaxed previous administrations’ laws against the use of Kurdish.

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Main opposition candidate files lawsuit against Turkish president

Turkey’s main opposition presidential candidate filed a lawsuit on Monday against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanding damages for defamation for suggesting the challenger in the June 24 election took orders from the secretive religious group the government says carried out the 2016 coup attempt.

Opinion polls put Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem İnce in second place in the presidential race behind Erdoğan. Four other candidates are also standing, hoping to stop Erdoğan winning an outright majority on June 24 and force him into a second-round run-off two weeks later. The presidential elections will usher in a new executive presidential system over the existing parliamentary system of democracy.

İnce is demanding $22,000 in damages from Erdoğan, the Patronlar Dünyası business website said, for a speech the president made in which he appeared to suggest the CHP candidate was a follower of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamist preacher and a former ally of Erdoğan’s government who lives in Pennsylvania, in the United States.

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Turkish opposition using religion in presidential race, pro-government commentator says

The leftist main opposition candidate in Turkey’s June 24 presidential elections is using religion as a campaign tool, said Fahrettin Altun, who works for a pro-government think-tank.

İnce, Altun said, “has been marketing religion like a true believer. Thanks to this, we have seen how religion has been used politically”.

Altun recalled comments İnce made in 2013 regarding the wearing of headscarves, which he says, “reveal Muharrem İnce’s real face. Here is his hostility to women. Here is his opposition to headscarves. Here is his opposition to the nation.”

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More than half a million security staff to monitor Turkish elections, says interior minister

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Monday that 531,000 security staff would oversee June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, independent news site t24 reported.

Opposition parties have expressed concerns over an election law passed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in March that allows for authorities to appoint government officials to run polling stations, allows security services to monitor voting, permits the relocation of ballot boxes on security grounds and the counting of unstamped ballot papers. 

“All efforts have been exerted to ensure that everyone can vote and their free will is reflected in the ballot boxes,” Soylu said.

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Muharrem İnce calls Erdoğan a “White Turk”

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a “White Turk” said Muharrem İnce, the CHP's candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. 

“Who is my rival? My rival is a White Turk. A White Turk who is well-connected, rich and lives in a palace,” İnce said a weekend rally in Istanbul.

İnce expanded on his comments, mocking Erdoğan’s penchant for expensive white tea in contrast to his own preference for black tea.

İnce was also critical of Erdoğan’s pledge to open free coffee shops in every district, “Look at his promises. He pledges to build stadiums, parks and coffee shops with books. He says you will eat cake there for free. I, on the other hand, am telling you that I will find jobs for our children. I will build factories. I will educate our children well.”

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Turkish economy grows 7.4 percent before elections

Turkey’s economy grew an annual 7.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, led by an expansion in the services industry, the state statistics office said.

Services grew by 10 percent, manufacturing by 8.8 percent and construction by 6.9 percent, the office in Ankara said on Monday. Agriculture expanded 4.6 percent. A Bloomberg survey of economists had predicted overall growth of 7 percent.

The Turkish economic data, although well-flagged, will be good news for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he campaigns for re-election on June 24. 

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