Turkish opposition politician slams reports claiming he met Erdoğan

Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of Turkey’s secular opposition in the 2018 elections, denied strongly on Saturday a veteran journalist’s report that he had a secret meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Nov. 9.

Rahmi Turan, a columnist of the Sözcü daily, said this week that a senior figure of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had a meeting with Erdoğan in the presidential palace. While CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called on the Turkish president to disclose details of the meeting, Erdoğan said on Friday that the report was a lie. 

Turan said on Friday that according to his sources the person who met Erdoğan was İnce, a rival of Kılıçdaroğlu within the CHP.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the board of Turk Time news site, Talat Atilla, on Saturday revealed he was the source of Turan’s report. Identifying his own source as member of the opposition CHP, Atilla said his source had reconfirmed the meeting.

“Now it is the turn of Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu and the CHP source which confirmed the report, to speak,’’ Atilla wrote in his column in Turk Time on Saturday

İnce said on Twitter that he had predicted from day one that he would be at the centre of claims Turan had raised.

“I knew that this was an operation over me against the opposition inside the party, and that this was cooked up by a gang in the kitchen of the party headquarters,” he said

“These claims have nothing to do with me,” the politician said. He called on the journalist to share all evidence against him, and on the CHP to launch a disciplinary inquiry into him so that the truth would come out. 

İnce also sent a message to journalist Barış Yarkadaş who was participating in a live debate on the issue on CNN Türk and said that he would self-immolate in Istanbul’s Taksim square if there was any evidence against him, Hürriyet daily reported.

Turan also joined the programme on CNN Türk via phone and said that he had received the information from a credible source close to the immediate circle of Erdoğan in the palace.