CHP leader slams arrest of Urla mayor, says Turkey ‘does not have democracy’

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Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed the arrest and removal of his party’s district mayor for the Aegean province of İzmir, over alleged links to the FETÖ, the group behind the defeated coup attempt of 2016.

“There is no democracy, no law in [Turkey]. Everything is being implemented with the will of just one person. We are not going to take a step back because our mayor has been arrested,” Kılıçdaroğlu said late on Dec. 17, during an interview to private broadcaster KRT TV.

“We will continue to put up a fight until democracy arrives [in Turkey] in a real sense,” he added.

İbrahim Burak Oğuz, CHP’s mayor for İzmir’s Urla district, was arrested on Dec. 17. Oğuz is the first head of a CHP-run municipality to be arrested since the March 31 elections. Oğuz is facing charges on being a member of FETÖ.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency on Dec. 18 reported that Oğuz has been suspended from duty. According to the agency, the Interior Ministry also suspended three more mayors of eastern Muş Province. Adnan Topçu and Ülkü Karaaslan Baytaş of Muş’s Bulanık and Varto districts, respectively, have been detained, on charges of “aiding a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda.”

Dilaver Kesik, the mayor of Erentepe town in Bulanık district, has also been detained on the same charges. The ministry has appointed new acting mayors for all four municipalities.

During his interview, Kılıçdaroğlu conveyed that the Urla mayor went to testify with his lawyer, upon an “invitation” from the prosecutor’s office, and the court arrested him.

“His arrest is wrong,” he said, adding that Oğuz has no suspicion to flee.

The CHP leader also said that there is a lot of “defamation” in Oğuz’s case. He added that there is a confidentiality order in the lawsuit.

“We will see the forthcoming process. We are also waiting,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu also conveyed that a delegation composed of lawyers has been formed for the suspended CHP mayor. He added that CHP deputies are also dealing with the matter.

“We believe he will be acquitted,” he said.

“Our mayors had been arrested and suspended when FETÖ was allied with the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party]. What happened then? They were all released,” he said.

“Same events happen today as well. It’s been said that FETÖ ended after the July 15 coup attempt, but the same arrests and same threats continue. These can and will not discourage us,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu also said that the CHP is different from other parties such that it “sticks up for democracy” in every area.

“We have a responsibility. Other political parties, who support democracy, also have a responsibility. That’s why we formed the Nation Alliance,” he said.

“We will stick together, improve democracy and clear the constitution from the law of coup d’etat,” he added.

The CHP and oppositional İYİ (Good) Party formed their alliance before the June 24, 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections. The alliance was extended for the March 31 local elections as both parties endorsed joint candidates in many metropolises and cities.

Hurriyet Daily News

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