The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is prepared for a snap election if the government makes a move to bring the presidential elections to be held in 2019 to an earlier date, said CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, while adding that “everything is possible.”
“There may be snap elections, or the elections may be held on schedule. The local elections may be held first and then normal elections may be held or otherwise, they can bring the normal elections forward,” Kılıçdaroğlu said during a televised interview on private broadcaster FOX TV on Sept. 2, following a question concerning rumors over the government’s move to hold snap elections.
Turkey is set to hold two elections in 2019. First, the local elections are scheduled to be in March 2019. Then, the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in November 2019.
Since the system change approved by the April 16 referendum will be in total effect after the presidential elections, Kılıçdaroğlu regarded the election as “critical.”
“Turkish people have to determine their own fate. Either we will stand for democracy or we will stand for the one-man regime,” he said, referring to the new system stipulated by the constitutional amendment as a “one-man regime.”
Daily Cumhuriyet case
“All of these people are innocent,” said Kılıçdaroğlu regarding the six accused in jail over terror charges as the trial of 20 executives and journalists of the daily Cumhuriyet continued in Istanbul on Sept. 11.
“Ahmet Şık, for instance, had written a book called İmam’ın Ordusu [The İmam’s Army], which criticizes the Fethullah Gülen organization and shows how the organization was protected. He was arrested before the book was published. Times have changed, now he is in jail on charges linked to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization [FETÖ]. He has been in jail for months. This is all irrational, insane,” he said.
“It is the collapse of justice in Turkey,” he added.
He also stated the evidence submitted to the case to accuse the suspects are “not evidence at all.”
“He had construction work done on his home and the construction worker was a FETÖ member. How could he have known? There are many such oddities in the file,” he added.
“All of these people are arrested because they were telling the truth,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
US case on Reza Zarrab
Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the government after the U.S. prosecutor filed a new indictment on former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and three others, broadening the case about Iranian millionaire Reza Zarrab over violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
“In order to violate the sanctions on Iran, they have engaged in illegal activities through Reza Zarrab, and the related authorities knew about it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Why was the issue covered up?” asked Kılıçdaroğlu, showing a report by the National Intelligence Office (MIT) dating back to 2013.
“It was evaluated that if current relations with Zarrab and Economy Minister Çağlayan and Interior Minister Güler are revealed, the aforementioned issues can be used against the government,” Kılıçdaroğlu read out loud in the MİT report, which anticipated the U.S. might include Zarrab on the “black list” for his money transfers to Iran despite the embargo.
“Why were these people not tried in Turkey in the first place?” he asked.
“If it will be used as an issue of blackmail, then if those who buckle under those threats make compromises, then Turkey will have a real issue of survival,” he added.