Erdoğan says Turkish opposition behind plot that smells like a coup

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a declaration by over 100 retired naval admirals at the weekend smelled like an attempted military coup and the main opposition party was directly behind it.

A total of 103 former admirals published a declaration on Saturday night, denouncing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for “opening up discussion on the Montreux Convention” and for Islamising the army, citing an active-service rear admiral’s visit to the leader of an extreme religious sect.

Erdoğan said the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and its leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu were behind the statement. The Montreux Convention was signed in 1936 and gave Turkey partial control over the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits.

"At the centre of these retired generals is the CHP itself," Erdoğan told members of his AKP on Wednesday in a speech at the parliament in Ankara. The CHP is trying to play down the declaration, which smells of a coup attempt, he said.

“Unfortunately, retired admirals take the instructions from their commander-in-chief Kılıçdaroğlu. It's already there his signature, he's the signer.”

The CHP was seeking to link Turkey’s struggle with terrorists and coup plotters to the economy, Erdoğan said. The Turkish president has been using the admirals’ declaration to distract the public from Turkey’s economic problems, according to some of his political opponents.

“They are calculating, supposedly in their minds, of hitting two birds with one stone,” he said. “They both whitewash terrorists and coup plotters and try to steer our country to a climate of chaos instead of trust and stability by breaking the hope of our nation, especially our youth, through the economy.”