The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has “failed to unite with the nation,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım claimed on Aug. 16.
Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, Yıldırım blasted the CHP for “walking in protest marches together with FETO and supporters of terrorist organizations,” referring to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, widely believed to mastermind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu marched 450 kilometers from the capital Ankara to Istanbul in June and July in protest at the sentencing of CHP deputy Enis Berberoglu to 25 years in prison.
An Istanbul court on June 14 ruled that Berberoğlu had “knowingly helped a terror organization” by providing “state secrets” to the media about gendarmerie forces stopping a weapons-laden National Intelligence Organization (MİT) truck that was allegedly heading to groups fighting in Syria near the border on Jan. 19, 2014.
The espionage case is a plot against the CHP, Deputy Leader Bülent Tezcan stated on Aug. 16.
“There is an attempted plot against CHP. This plot has been revealed,” Tezcan said after the main opposition party’s Central Executive Board meeting.
His comments came after the CHP and the AKP engaged in a bitter row after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan implied that the ongoing probe, which ruled for Berberoğlu’s imprisonment, could also be linked to Kılıçdaroğlu.
“The leader of the main opposition is concerned that charges that led to the imprisonment of one of his lawmakers may be linked to him as well,” Erdoğan had said on Aug. 13.
“I am hearing interesting news emerging from prison. ‘I will speak if I am not freed,’ the imprisoned person says,” he added, referring to Berberoğlu.
The next day, Berberoğlu sent a letter via his lawyers, denying the accusations.
“I have only spoken to the CHP lawmakers and my lawyers. The contents of the conversations with visitors can be asked to them. But I remember that during all those visits I only spoke about my judicial status and said I have never given up hope of justice,” he said.
Speaking on Aug. 16, Prime Minister Yıldırım also referred to the April referendum on constitutional changes, which introduced an executive presidential system after a narrow win of the “yes” side, in a result contested by the opposition over irregularities.
“Those who carried out the ‘No’ campaign during the referendum campaign are now dreaming of the 2019 elections,” he said.
“But regardless of who the opposition party nominates for the presidential elections, the nation will give them a lesson … The chairman and deputies of the main opposition party, who used the terms ‘controlled coup’ and ‘theater’ in reference to the coup attempt, thus mocking the families of those killed, should be ready. This nation will teach them a big lesson,” Yıldırım added.