Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Yasin Aktay said on Friday that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu deserves to be tried for a party declaration that was critical of the detention of Kurdish deputies last week.
Aktay criticized the CHP declaration which said that the arrests of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies and columnists from the critical Cumhuriyet daily are against the constitution, arguing that it was a scandalous act on the part of the CHP.
“In fact, if Kılıçdaroğlu did not have immunity, he would deserve to be tried over these issues [he criticized],” Aktay said, in implicitly threatening remarks to what is probably Turkey’s only remaining opposition party. With the pro-Kurdish opposition HDP under heavy pressure amid arrests and investigations over alleged support for terrorism and the other opposition, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on board with the government, there are hardly any critical voices left in Turkey.
According to Aktay, the Kurdish deputies are imprisoned not only because of their political views but because they support terrorist activities. Aktay further insisted that the HDP deputies defied the Turkish legal system. HDP deputies, including co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested for refusing to testify to a prosecutor, citing the lack of impartiality of the judiciary.
Following massive corruption scandals in December 2013, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son refused to testify to a prosecutor, and Erdoğan had shuffled the police and judiciary in order to cover up the corruption investigations. The pro-Erdoğan circles who criticize the HDP deputies for not testifying to a prosecutor had defended Erdoğan’s decision at the time, claiming that it was a plot to topple Erdoğan.
Following the CHP’s declaration, President Erdoğan filed criminal complaints against Kılıçdaroğlu and members of the CHP Party Council (PM) on the grounds that they insulted the president in the declaration that was critical of last week’s arrests targeting HDP and the Cumhuriyet daily.