Erdoğan targets Kılıçdaroğlu: He contacted putschists

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) greeting the leader of the Republican People's Party Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during a rally held to protest against the July 15 failed coup, at Yenikapi in Istanbul, Turkey on August 7, 2016. AFP PHOTO /

Continuing his campaign for an April 16 referendum that will switch the country to an executive presidency with much broader powers for the president, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday said main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had contact with coup plotters at an İstanbul airport during the July 15 coup attempt last year.

“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] said, ‘If he called me, I would 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.

Answering a question concerning the reactions of Erdoğan and the government to his previous statement that July 15 was a controlled coup attempt, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “The coup investigation commission did not work as we wished, and does not work now. If a government does not allow the coup commission to do its job and does not invite people who we wanted to be interviewed, what can we do? Should we not question the sincerity of the government?”

Recalling that the Turkish Armed Forces has a rule that personnel are not allowed to leave the barracks in times of emergency, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “This basic and simple rule which was always enforced before was not put observed on July 15. Who am I going to ask about this? The two key figures, Chief of General Staff Gen. [Hulusi Akar] and National Intelligence Organization [MİT] Undersecretary [Hakan Fidan], were invited to the commission. We would ask them why that basic rule was not followed. The government, which prevented this [the testimonies of Akar and Fidan to the coup commission], is trying to question me. Why did you prevent them from appearing before the commission?”

Questioning the suspension of the prosecutor who wrote the indictment for the coup attempt, Kılıçdaroğlu continued: “Why was the indictment taken to the Justice Ministry and the case file emptied?”

“It was a coup attempt designed to fail,” said Kılıçdaroğlu when asked what would happen if the failed coup had been successful.

“Why does the government want to cover up [the investigation of] the coup attempt? Why do they not want it to be exposed? The report that was prepared by the commission will be given to the CHP and other party members after April 16 [referendum]. Why? What is the relation between the coup commission and April 16?” asked Kılıçdaroğlu.

The CHP leader underlined that in reaction to the government’s efforts to cover it up, they, as a party, have been preparing a report.

Focusing on Adil Öksüz, who is claimed to be the civilian leader of the putschists in the air forces, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “I mentioned the name of Adil Öksüz. Which state institution imported Öksüz’s GPS device? The Prime Ministry will order it, and it will be investigated. He had two mobiles and one GPS device. Why was he not handcuffed like everyone else was? In 2014, a change was made to the MİT law. It said that no MİT personnel could be detained or arrested without the order of the prime minister. Why wasn’t Adil Öksüz arrested or detained?”

“They cannot say that we do not know Adil Öksüz. The prosecutor prepared an indictment before the coup attempt. It was written there that Adil Öksüz is the imam of the navy. In another indictment he was mentioned as the imam of the air forces. Who is this guy? Where did he get that power? Did he die? They say we have launched an investigation. Come on. The Republic of Turkey, which released Adil Öksüz with two mobiles and a GPS device, does not know where he is and launches and investigation. Who do you think you’re fooling?”

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