President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized an opposition deputy over his remarks concerning the whereabouts of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on the night of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, saying he would give him an “appropriate” answer if he were sitting in the lower section of the general assembly hall.
During a speech in Parliament on Monday, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Özgür Özel said while some deputies resisted coup perpetrators in the Parliament building on the night of the coup attempt, Prime Minister Yıldırım was taken out of his home and spent the night in the Ilgaz Tunnel in northwestern Turkey out of security concerns.
President Erdoğan, who is also the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was sitting at a special section on the upper floor of the Parliament while Özel was making his speech.
At a reception marking April 23, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, Erdoğan voiced his frustration with Özel’s remarks, saying: “He [Özel] is shaking his finger at me. I was in the upper section, not the lower part [of the hall]. I don’t sit there. The post I hold requires me to sit up above, but if I had been down there, I would not only have given him the answer he deserves but a big lesson that he needs as well.”
Özel, who later spoke to the Birgün daily, accused Erdoğan of threatening him while saying that his remarks about Yıldırım are also available in the records of a parliamentary commission that was established to investigate the coup.
Özel also challenged Erdoğan to appear on a TV program for a debate with him, saying he is ready for it wherever and whenever Erdoğan wishes.