Turkey’s main opposition leader has accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in particular Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, of involvement in facilitating money laundering and drug trafficking in the country, BBC Turkish service reported on Tuesday.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), released a video on Twitter late on Monday in which he and Hacer Foggo, the party’s Poverty Solidarity Office coordinator, talked about the increasing drug use in Turkey, with special emphasis on the widespread use of methamphetamine.
“There is a methamphetamine epidemic in Turkey. … Today I will tell you how the palace has invited this poison into our streets. This [widespread drug use] is the result of dirty money,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in the tweet where he shared a seven-minute video, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Türkiye’de bir metamfetamin salgını var. Sarayın düzeni bu salgını besliyor. Bakmayın “okul önünde uyuşturucu satanın bacaklarını kırarız” palavrasına. Bugün size Sarayın kara para ile bu zehiri nasıl sokaklarımıza davet ettiğini anlatacağım. Kirli paranın sonucudur bu. pic.twitter.com/llUggksdDJ
— Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (@kilicdarogluk) October 31, 2022
The CHP leader claimed that the government was using the “black money” that was coming into Turkey from drug trafficking to close the country’s current account deficit.
Reminding of Soylu’s 2018 call on Turkish police to “break the legs of drug dealers” when they see them in the vicinity of a school, the CHP leader said in the video: “They invited these drugs to this country themselves. They said [to drug traffickers], ‘Bring your money [to Turkey], [and] we will turn a blind eye to everything,’ and then they turned a blind eye to it.”
“’Breaking Bad Süleyman’ condoned the poisoning of this country’s children,” Kılıçdaroğlu added, using a reference to a US crime drama about a high-school chemistry teacher partnering with a former student to produce and distribute crystal meth.
Soylu also released a video on Twitter in response to Kılıçdaroğlu in the early hours of Tuesday and said it didn’t become a Turkish citizen, let alone a party chairman, to slander the state, police, gendarmerie and military by saying they were closing the country’s current account deficit with “drug money.”
Kılıçdaroğlu'nun Amerika’da hamburgercide aldığı siparişler yavaş yavaş ortaya çıkıyor.
— Süleyman Soylu (@suleymansoylu) October 31, 2022
“We won’t let you get away with lies! We won’t let you get away with slander!” Soylu added.
The General Directorate of Security and the Gendarmerie General Command in addition to Minister Soylu will file a criminal complaint against Kılıçdaroğlu for the claims he made in the video, BBC said.
According to a report by the Artı Gerçek news website on Tuesday, Soylu spoke to the press in Ankara about Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims and reiterated his previous accusations that the CHP leader had met with Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric resident in the US whose views have inspired the Gülen movement.
“There are witnesses of a meeting [between him and] the FETÖ ringleader although he had said he didn’t meet with him. … What happens if an audio recording of it is found tomorrow and a patriot sends the recording to the court?” Soylu said.
FETÖ is a derogatory term used by the Turkish government to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.
Erdoğan, who has been targeting the movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle, intensified the crackdown on the movement following the 2016 coup attempt that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.
Meanwhile, AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik on Tuesday spoke about Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims, saying he had made “one of the gravest and most shameful statements of Turkish political life” and should publicly apologize.
Mob boss Sedat Peker had also talked about the alleged involvement of the AKP in international drug trafficking in a video in 2021. Peker, who lives in exile in UAE and makes scandalous revelations about the dirty relations between the Turkish government and mafia and crime groups, claimed that Erkan Yıldırım, son of former vice president Binali Yıldırım, who is currently deputy chairman of the AKP, was part of a major drug trafficking ring involving Venezuela and Turkey.
Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who was once a staunch supporter of President Erdoğan, is the subject of an outstanding warrant in Turkey and can’t continue his revelations on social media these days due to restrictions imposed by the UAE on him.