Turkey’s main opposition MP sued multiple times over calling coup attempt a ‘play’

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A deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has been sued multiple times for calling the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt, which left 250 people dead, a “play.”

Mustafa Akaydın, a CHP lawmaker from the southern province of Antalya, drew harsh rebuke from the government after his comments on the thwarted coup, widely believed to have been masterminded by the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

“The killer of the 250 citizens is the state. I’m saying this openly as a deputy,” Akaydın said on Aug. 3, prompting the July 15 Foundation to file a complaint against Akaydın to “protect the legal rights of the martyrs and veterans.”

The head of the foundation, Abdurrahman Tarık Şebik, said the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) “mobilized to disperse the atmosphere of unity and solidarity” that emerged after the attempted takeover through “its political leg.”

Şebik also said the CHP “assumed the role of being the mouthpiece of the perception trying to be created by FETÖ,” urging that Akaydın’s parliamentary immunity must be lifted.

In Antalya, a group of lawyers filed a complaint against Akaydın, with lawyer Ahmet Onaran saying that the language is the same as the “murderer state” rhetoric used by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“It’s impossible not to think whether the political leg of FETÖ took action after these statements. We urge all citizens in Antalya to follow this case,” Onaran said, adding that they filed a complaint over “inciting people to hatred and enmity,” “making up a crime,” “humiliating the Turkish people, republic and its institutions” and “being a member of or founding a terrorist organization and working on behalf of it.”

In addition to being sued many times, Akaydın was slammed by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, who called on party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to “end this shame.”

“The people are wondering what you will do against this man who hurt the souls of our martyrs,” Yıldırım said on Aug. 8, adding that “the CHP got out of control.”

Another criticism came from Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who accused the CHP MP of being a mouthpiece for FETÖ over his “play” claims.

“It’s obvious that FETÖ persuaded him,” Bozdağ said on Aug. 9, while calling on Kılıçdaroğlu to “carry out interparty discipline.”

Bozdağ also said Gülen was the first person to call the foiled coup a “play” and that the CHP “sought to spread this view by being his lawyer.”

“It was also this terrorist group and its members who put forward the ‘controlled coup’ accusations. However, the lawyer of this thought was once again the main opposition unfortunately,” he added, referring to Kılıçdaroğlu’s previous remarks on the coup attempt being a “controlled one.”

Kılıçdaroğlu in April said the coup attempt occurred within the knowledge of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and was therefore a “controlled coup,” which also stirred debate.

Akaydın, meanwhile, said he stood behind his remarks.

“I’m calling for the politicians who threw the martyrs in front of coup soldiers and caused their deaths to be held accountable. It is my duty to ask this. July 15 was of course FETÖ’s coup attempt. On the other hand, this attempt was realized with the courage they received from AKP politicians for years,” Akaydın said on Aug. 9.

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