President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday described Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as a “political pervert” due to his remarks about a government minister whom Kılıçdaroğlu accused of covering up a child rape scandal in Karaman province.
Kılıçdaroğlu heavily criticized Family and Social Policies Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu on Tuesday due to her stance in defense of a pro-government foundation, the Ensar Foundation, that was allegedly involved in the abuse of 45 boys in Karaman.
Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu complained that no state official was showing any interest in the child abuse scandal in Karaman.
“Stand behind the children not the foundations. The governor of [Karaman] does not speak [on the issue]. The education minister does not speak about it, either. The family minister has lied down before some people and never speaks at all.”
Kılıçdaroğlu came under fire from government officials and supporters due to these remarks, with many calling them “inappropriate, offensive and obscene.”
President Erdoğan who commented on Kılıçdaroğlu’s statements during one of his regular meetings with muhtars [neighborhood heads] at the presidential palace in Ankara on Wednesday, said: “The sexual pervert [in Karaman] over whom the main opposition party leader is seeking to make politics is now in jail and giving an accounting of his actions. But I wonder what we will do with these political perverts.” He was apparently referring to Kılıçdaroğlu.
The incident in Karaman, which came to public attention last month, caused a public outrage with many calling on authorities to shed light on the incident. The abuse of the boys by a male teacher allegedly took place in houses operated by the pro-government Ensar Foundation in Karaman.
The defendant Muharrem B., (54), who has been charged with “sexual assault of a minor”, “deprivation of freedom” and “coercing a minor to read and watch obscene material”, was taken into custody on March 4 and later arrested. He now faces up to 600 years in prison
Since the time the incident went public, many government officials including Ramazanoğlu made statements that sought to distance the name of the Ensar Foundation from the scandal. Ramazanoğlu attracted huge criticism when she said just because such an incident of child abuse happened once, Ensar Foundation cannot be defamed because it is a foundation offering many important social services.
In a statement to the Cumhuriyet daily on Wednesday, the CHP leader rebuffed his critics, saying that it was actually a former government minister who first used the phrase of “lying down before someone” and he was making a reference to it.
Several months after Turkey was shaken by a corruption probe which became public with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, a wiretapped phone conversation between the prime suspect of the corruption investigation, Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, and then Interior Minister Muammer Güler was posted online.
Güler’s son was one of those detained on Dec.17, 2013.
In the wiretapped phone conversation leaked in February 2014, Güler tells Zarrab “Brother, be comfortable,” adding, “I swear to God, if there is such a thing [an investigation], I will lie down in front of you [to shield you],” assuring the businessman not to worry.