Erdoğan should be tried for treason, opposition MP says

(Updates with Erdoğan's reaction)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should be put on trial for treason because Turkey’s national interests have been sacrificed for his “dubious wealth”, said Aykut Erdoğdu, Istanbul deputy for the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

“I will work with all my power to take you down in elections and put you on trial,” Erdoğdu said in a series of tweets on Tuesday. “And I will be in the court room on the day of your trial so your right to defence is not hindered.”

Turkey’s CHP, the largest opposition party in parliament, has accused Erdoğan of corruption and of spending $128 billion of the central bank’s foreign currency reserves during a recent slump in the lira’s value. It has called for a full investigation of the losses.

Erdoğdu said he was under surveillance due to his criticism of Erdoğan, while his close female friends were being harassed by “reporters from the ATV and Sabah groups”. The two media companies are owned by Erdoğan’s close ally and construction magnate Orhan Cemal Kalyoncu.

“Your reporters are calling my closest female friends to ask them if they had any relations with me,” Erdoğdu said, labelling the incidents as “political blackmail” by Erdoğan.

“I clash with the apparatus of the corrupt, unjust and cruel order that you built every day,” Erdoğdu said, adding that his phone had been tapped and house put under surveillance. “I am being followed. I am being harassed. I am being threatened. I am being slandered,” he said.

Erdoğan “founded a monstrous order that victimises millions of people and has no semblance of a conscience”, Erdoğdu said. “You are the number one in this criminal organisation.”

“My reaction isn’t momentary or hotheaded. The knife has hit the bone,” he said.

Erdoğdu was “using the language of the murderers of our prime minister Menderes”, governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) Spokesman Ömer Çelik said on Tuesday, referring to Adnan Menderes, an ex-prime minister and the last Turkish political leader to be executed following a military coup in 1961.

“Hoping to try our president, whose concern is to serve his nation, for treason is the Yassıada mentality of those who can’t even dream for the people,” Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Wednesday. Menderes was tried and executed on Yassıada island off Istanbul, which Erdoğan’s government has renamed Democracy and Freedom Island.

“It must be known that those days you long for are gone. That place is now the DEMOCRACY ISLAND,” Oktay said.

On Wednesday, Erdoğan pressed charges against Erdoğdu and the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s office opened a case against the deputy immediately for insulting the president, daily Evrensel reported.