Erdoğan lambastes main opposition leader for visits to state institutions

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday harshly criticized main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over his recent visits to the Turkish Central Bank, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) and the Education Ministry.

“First, he asked for an appointment from the central bank, and an appointment was made. He was briefed. He came out and said many false things,” Erdoğan said and added: “He is dishonest. He is degenerate and depraved.”

Kılıçdaroğlu had visited the central bank in October after it repeatedly cut interest rates in line with Erdoğan’s unorthodox economic view hostile to interest, irritating the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the pro-government media, which labeled the visit a “raid.”

The CHP leader was then denied entry to TurkStat headquarters on the day in December that the institute announced the country’s annual rate of inflation, amid claims of manipulating inflation data for political reasons.

Kılıçdaroğlu was also refused entry on Thursday to the Education Ministry in Ankara, where he went to speak to officials about allegations of favoritism in the appointment of public school teachers.

Erdoğan accused Kılıçdaroğlu of hypocrisy over his actions at the central bank, saying the CHP leader’s comments to bank officials and later with the press were totally different.

Erdoğan claimed that Kılıçdaroğlu was aiming at “disorder” and “chaos” with his “thuggish forays” rather than briefings on public matters.

Over the past several years, Turkey has been suffering from backsliding in its economy, with high inflation and unemployment as well as a poor human rights record. Erdoğan is criticized for mishandling the economy, emptying the state’s coffers and establishing one-man rule in the country where dissent is suppressed and opponents are jailed on politically motivated charges.

Critics say the diminishing support for Erdoğan’s government reinvigorated the opposition, giving the latter the initiative to lead the political debate, rather than reacting to Erdoğan’s manoeuvers as they once did.

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