Lawyers hired by the People’s Liberation Party (HKP), a left-wing populist political party in Turkey, filed a criminal complaint against a former member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for failing to report a crime after he said last week that he would not reveal what he knows about claims that a large number of civilians were armed with unregistered guns during a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey until after AKP government is removed from power following the elections of 2023.
During a debate program on Halk TV on July 7, AKP İstanbul provincial chair at the time and current vice chair of the opposition Gelecek (Future) Party Selim Temurci said he was keeping quiet about the claims for now to protect the rights of loved ones and “people who shed their blood” on the night of the coup attempt.
It was Sedat Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who first claimed in a series of tweets in July 2021 that a large number of civilians were armed with unregistered guns during the July 15 coup attempt and afterward, under the coordination of then-minister of labor and current interior minister Süleyman Soylu.
There are widespread suspicions that the weapons delivered to civilians that night were not only used against the coup plotters but also to provoke people who took to the streets to suppress the coup attempt upon a call from Erdoğan.
HKP lawyers filed a criminal complaint against Temurci with the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, stating that he had committed a crime by “failing to report a crime.”
HKP Central Disciplinary Board Chairperson Ayça Okur made a statement regarding the criminal complaint.
“Selim Temurci confirms Sedat Peker’s statements about the weapons distributed,” Okur said in the statement, and added that Temurci held his political interest and the fate of his loved ones above “the interests of the country.”
Reminding that they had previously filed two separate criminal complaints over Peker’s statement about Soylu and the weapons, Okur said: “Our two criminal complaints are still under investigation. This is our third criminal complaint about this issue.”
“As the People’s Liberation Party, we have prepared another file that will be released from the archives when the day comes, when prosecutors and judges who derive their power from their conscience and the law take their places in the courts. We have filed a criminal complaint against Selim Temurci, who, like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other AKP members, pursues his own political interests while pretending to protect the interests of his supporters, and despite having clear information about crimes and criminals, conceals it, for committing the crime of not reporting the crime as stipulated under Article 279 of the Turkish Penal Code,” Okur said.
Temurci claimed during a televised interview in July 2021 that Erdoğan and Albayrak were more likely to have been involved in the alleged arming of civilians during the attempted coup and afterward than Soylu.
“Who in the world can transport [unregistered] AK-47s in the car of the AKP İstanbul youth branch chairman and then distribute them [to civilians] without the knowledge of the president?” Temurci speculated.
“If my youth branch chairman was involved in such a thing, then let me say this clearly: I think Berat Albayrak must have been much more involved in this than Soylu,” he added.