CHP leader calls on Erdoğan to prove claims on contact with putschists

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shaking hands with leader of the Republican People's Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu (L) before attending a rally held to protest against the July 15 failed coup on August 7, 2016 at Yenikapi district of İstanbul. AFP Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Istanbul today for a pro-democracy rally organised by the ruling party, bringing to an end three weeks of demonstrations in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after last month's failed coup. / AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / TURKEY'S PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Tuesday called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to prove his claim that Kılıçdaroğlu had contact with coup plotters at an İstanbul airport during the July 15 coup attempt last year.

Speaking to members of the media, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “If Mr. President can prove this, I will express my thanks to him. If not, I will declare him a slanderer.”

Regarding Erdoğan’s statement that he would not have invited the CHP leader to a pro-democracy rally in Yenikapı on Aug.7, 2016 if he had known he had been in contact coup plotters, Kılıçdaroğlu added, “I went Yenikapı, not because he wanted me to, but because I was against the coup.”

Continuing his campaign for an April 16 referendum that will switch the country to an executive presidency with much broader powers for the head of state, President Erdoğan has recently increased his attacks on CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu.

“He had contact [with a putschist]. They [Kılıçdaroğlu] came in a car with flashing lights. They spoke to soldiers around some tanks and left. That means a sham fight,” said Erdoğan, talking about video footage from a city surveillance camera at İstanbul Atatürk Airport on the night of July 15, during an interview with Kral FM and TRT FM on Monday.

“He [Kılıçdaroğlu] had said, ‘If he calls me, I will get there.’ Come on. Your life is a lie,” added Erdoğan.

Strongly criticizing Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks that his party has a dossier of evidence showing that the coup attempt was a controlled one, Erdoğan said: “His seat in the party is a controlled one. He came with a tape [sex videos of former CHP leader Deniz Baykal], he will go with a tape. He is not permanent there. He is not an honest man.”

On Wednesday Kılıçdaroğlu said President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım do not want a July 15 coup attempt to be investigated because they are concerned such a probe could extend to themselves.

“The government and the president want to cover up this coup attempt. Since it will reach them, they do not want it investigated any more deeply,” said Kılıçdaroğlu during an interview with NTV.

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