Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli defended his visit to hospitalized mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı, stating that the convicted mafia figure “has fought for the nation and people” and is “not as criminal as [Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP presidential candidate] Selahattin Demirtaş.”
“Alaattin has fought for this nation and people many times in some ways. Those who rule the state and others know this,” Bahçeli told a group of journalist at an iftar dinner on May 23.
The MHP leader’s comment came as his brief visit to Çakıcı at a hospital in the central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale on May 23 has attracted criticism from the opposition. Bahçeli had uttered Çakıcı’s name previously on May 12 within his call for a general amnesty for certain convicts, criticizing opposition parties for campaigning for the release of the HDP’s imprisoned candidate Demirtaş.
“If men who are in love with their homeland and ideals, who are known to be the brave and fearless men of their mission, such as Alattin Çakıcı or Kürşat Yılmaz, were presented as candidates by the signatures of 100,000 nationalists, would there be such a petition for their release?” he had said.
The MHP leader once more criticized the opposition party leaders and presidential candidates for their call for the release of Demirtaş on the grounds that he had not been convicted and officially announced as the presidential candidate.
“He [Çakıcı] is not as criminal as Demirtaş. Five political parties have queued and have made efforts for his release. If they are not criticized, then why is Alaattin?” Bahçeli asked.
“You release those who have betrayed the state from prison and keep an individual who has started to suffer from health issues in a prison and call him mafia without considering this,” Bahçeli added.
In 1995, Çakıcı was convicted of instigating the murder of his wife in front of their son, Onur Özbizerdik. He was put on trial when he returned to Turkey and found guilty of instigating his ex-wife’s murder and sentenced to 19 years in prison.
He is also convicted of several crimes, including organizing and leading a crime syndicate for the purpose of generating profit, instigating murder, instigating injury, and insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The mafia leader was hospitalized on May 17 and was taken to the hospital from the prison in the Black Sea province of Bolu.