Muharrem İnce, the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) presidential candidate, has slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the latter said intelligence units identified participants of İnce’s rally in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır as supporters of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“He said he had an intelligence report about the people who attended my rally. Is it the intelligence’s job to monitor the opposition?” İnce said in a tweet on June 12.
Earlier in the day, Erdoğan had said in an election rally in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir: “According to the information I received from the intelligence, almost all participants [of İnce’s] Diyarbakır rally were from the HDP.”
But Erdoğan did not give further details of the intelligence he had on the individuals who attended the meeting.
İnce held an election rally in Diyarbakır on June 11 where he pledged to solve the Kurdish question in parliament if elected as the head of the nation in the June 24 elections.
While responding to Erdoğan’s statement, the CHP candidate also reminded that the Turkish president had admittedly noticed what was happening on the evening of the July 15, 2016, military coup due to his brother-in-law who called him to warn that tanks were rolling through the streets.
“You are using the intelligence units for your political goals, so you had to learn about the coup from your BROTHER-IN-LAW,” İnce tweeted on June 12, adding that “everyone, including those who previously voted for the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP, are attending my rallies.”
‘İnce’s place is in dusty pages of history’
In his Eskişehir rally on June 12, Erdoğan had recalled that İnce had visited the jailed presidential nominee of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş, in Edirne Prison, demanding him to reveal what they discussed in the meeting. Erdoğan has many times accused Demirtaş of being “the leader of terrorists” and blamed him for the death of 53 citizens in an attack in 2016.
“What do you expect from someone who paid a visit to the head of terrorists in prison?” he asked the participants of his rally in Eskişehir.
In a recent rally in the western province of Kocaeli on June 10, Erdoğan’s supporters had chanted they wanted Demirtaş to be executed after they repeated calls for the reinstatement of the death penalty.
Criticizing İnce and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for not making their views explicit on Turkey’s ongoing cross-border operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, Erdoğan called on İnce to explain his approach on a number of critical foreign and security policy issues, including the Jerusalem row and the procurement of S-400 ballistic missile systems from Russia.
“But the whole world knows what Erdoğan thinks about these issues. They know our ‘Our Minute’ and ‘The world is bigger than five,’” he said.
Erdoğan urged İnce to resign if he doesn’t win the presidential elections, saying that he, like Kılıçdaroğlu, “will be buried in the dusty pages of history.”
“That’s why I advise you to not pay attention to their dirty cheap games,” he told his supporters, asking them to vote for “stability, prosperity and development.”