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CHP chair responds to arrest allegations, says AKP used to planning conspiracies

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican People's Party (CHP) (Fatih Kurt / Anadolu Agency)

In response to arrest threats made by Turkish President and Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said the AKP government is used to planning conspiracies.

Following Erdoğan’s remarks which implied that Kılıçdaroğlu could stand trial in connection to the case of arrested CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “They are used to planning conspiracies. If they don’t like someone, first they make a statement, then a prosecutor takes action, after that a court verdict, and then arrest. They want to intimidate us. We will fight against the violence of a tyrant.”

Kılıçdaroğlu, who was speaking to a group of journalists in Ankara, remarked that the target of Erdoğan was the CHP and himself.

Upon being asked if he had ordered Berberoğlu to give a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria, CHP leader said: “No, who is saying that? Why are not they providing any evidence of this? There is no need for evidence… Files are empty, a lot of people have been arrested, we know people in these situations. The prisons are full.”

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

“Erdoğan has made a big confession with his statement: ‘I am instructing prosecutors, I am instructing judges, they are doing what they need to do following instructions from me. If there is need for additional recommendations, they get my advice, my words are being written down by judges and prosecutors.’ This accusation made by Erdoğan using Enis reflects what we have been saying until now: ‘The judiciary in Turkey is not free, the political authority is using the judiciary as a political stick to shape society and institutions’,” added Kılıçdaroğlu.

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 made 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.

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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