CHP’s İnce asks if intelligence agency is tasked with following the opposition

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Presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Muharrem Ince (L) and his wife Ulku Ince, wave to supporters during a campaign meeting in Diyarbakir on June 11, 2018, ahead of the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections which will be held on June 24, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce asked on Tuesday if it is the task of the intelligence agency to follow opposition campaigns, in response to remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicating that the intelligence service told him that all attendees of İnce’s Diyarbakır rally on Sunday were Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members.

İnce’s rally in Diyarbakır, where the CHP garnered only 1.6 percent of the vote in the Nov 1, 2015 elections, sparked excitement among party members due to the high attendance of local residents.

“He held a rally in Diyarbakır. According to information I received from the intelligence agency, all the participants were HDP members,” Erdoğan said on Tuesday during a campaign speech in Eskişehir.

Erdoğan also criticized İnce’s visit to the HDP’s jailed presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtaş, in Edirne Prison on May 9.

İnce on Tuesday responded to Erdoğan’s remarks on Twitter, saying attendees at his rallies were very diverse, including former Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters.

“The intelligence agency doesn’t dare share this information with you, so I am,” İnce tweeted.

“Because you use the intelligence agency for political purposes, you had to learn about the coup attempt from your brother-in-law,” İnce also added.

Erdoğan had said he learned about military activity at the beginning of a July 2016 coup attempt from his brother-in-law, Ziya İlgen.

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