President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed criminal complaints against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and members of the CHP Party Council (PM) on the grounds that they insulted the president in a declaration they released on Monday.
The CHP released a declaration on Monday in which it criticized last week’s operations against the opposition Cumhuriyet daily and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), saying that the arrest of Cumhuriyet journalists and HDP deputies contravenes the Constitution.
The CHP issued the declaration following a Party Council meeting on Sunday that convened to discuss the latest developments in the country which resulted in the arrest of nine Cumhuriyet daily journalists and nine HDP deputies including the party’s co-chairs last week. One more HDP deputy was arrested on Monday.
Speaking at an inauguration ceremony in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdoğan criticized the CHP declaration, saying: “Those who betray the homeland and those acting like the lawyers of those blowing winds of terrorism in this country have to pay the price for their attitude. ”
In the declaration, the CHP accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of serving terrorism by arresting deputies.
“The arrest of deputies without due process is against the Constitution and rulings of the Constitutional Court. These unlawful practices should come to an end,” said the declaration.
AKP Secretary-General Abdülhamit Gül also announced on Tuesday that his party had filed a criminal complaint against the CHP Party Council at the Ankara Courthouse over its declaration.
“As long as the CHP stands behind terror organizations but against the republic and the public, it will continue to take the necessary lesson from this nation,” said Gül in a message from his Twitter account.
Turkish courts on Friday arrested nine HDP deputies including the party’s Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who were detained in the early hours of Friday following police raids on their homes. The HDP deputies were arrested after they refused to testify about alleged crimes linked to “terrorist propaganda.”
The editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet and eight staff members from the daily were arrested on Saturday. They are accused of aiding the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and FETÖ.
FETÖ is a derogatory term and acronym for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government to refer to the Gülen movement, which Erdoğan and the AKP accuse of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15. The movement strongly denies having any role in the coup attempt.