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Mob boss threatens Turkey’s opposition leader over gov’t criticism

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Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has received a threat from notorious Turkish mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı after criticizing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for releasing him from prison.

During his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent promise of reforms to fix the problems in Turkey’s economy and judiciary.

“Does this mean you’ll stop releasing mafia leaders and drug traffickers from prison while putting ‘thought criminals’ behind bars?” the CHP leader said, clearly referring to Çakıcı’s release in April.

The mafia boss, known for his ties to Devlet Bahçeli, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader and election ally of the AKP government, had been convicted of establishing and leading a criminal organization, ordering a murder, instigating assault and insulting President Erdoğan.

Following Bahçeli’s call for a general amnesty, specifically citing Çakıcı, the mob boss was released on April 16 as part of an amnesty drafted by the government to free up to one-third of Turkey’s prison population to ease overcrowding during the coronavirus pandemic while excluding political prisoners.

The 67-year-old mob boss on Tuesday told CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu to “watch his step” in a handwritten statement released on Twitter.

“Look, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, traitors may incite you by [utilizing] the psychology of the masses. But they won’t be by your side when you are in trouble. That is why I am telling you to watch your step,’’ Çakıcı said in a four-page message.

Celal Çelik, a lawyer for Kılıçdaroğlu, on Wednesday announced that the CHP leader had filed a complaint against Çakıcı with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, saying they would hold him to account “for this impudence.”

A total of 39 district heads and 14 district mayors from the CHP, in addition to the party’s İstanbul provincial chairman Canan Kaftancıoğlu and İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, released a joint statement condemning Çakıcı for threatening Kılıçdaroğlu and the government for being silent.

“If the interior minister is keeping silent in the face of this threat, he is either not a statesman or is a supporter of the hitman [Çakıcı], or both,” the party members said on Wednesday.

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