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Erdoğan threatens Kılıçdaroğlu with trial over links to jailed deputy

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Turkish President and Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday implied that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu could stand trial in relation to the case of arrested CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Berberoğlu was arrested in June immediately after he was handed down a prison sentence of 25 years for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

“The person [Kılıçdaroğlu] who runs the main opposition party tries to act preemptively and muddy the waters over concern that the case of a deputy who is now in prison due to a crime against the country could reach himself,” said Erdoğan during a speech to party members in Antalya province.

“Don’t be surprised if a link between Kılıçdaroğlu and the person [Berberoğlu] in prison is revealed soon. I am receiving different news from the prison. ‘I will speak if I am not released,’ says the person in prison,” added Erdoğan.

Kılıçdaroğlu has been targeted by Erdoğan since he launched a March of Justice in June to protest the arrest of Berberoğlu.

During the CHP’s March of Justice, Erdoğan implied that Kılıçdaroğlu could be detained or brought before a court to testify for holding the march.

Erdoğan recently slammed Kılıçdaroğlu for remarks to German Focus magazine warning tourists against travel to Turkey and said that “he will pay the price.”

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Şanlıurfa deputy and spokesperson Osman Baydemir on Thursday said it would be no surprise if Kılıçdaroğlu were to be arrested, dha reported.

“People are arrested for the crime of criticizing the AKP and criticizing Erdoğan. Do not be surprised if Kılıçdaroğlu is arrested. Frankly speaking  I myself would not be surprised,” said Baydemir in a statement during the Justice Watch, which was launched by the HDP last month as part of a series of events protesting the arrest of Kurdish deputies.

Staunchly pro-government Yeni Akit daily columnist Mehtap Yılmaz in a Monday article called for the arrest of the CHP leader and three CHP deputies.

Accusing Kılıçdaroğlu of “explicitly committing crimes,” “serving the Middle Eastern goals of the European Union by defaming his country” and “supporting putschists,” Yılmaz said the CHP leader has to be thrown out on in his ear and put in jail.

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