ANKARA: Physical threats against Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, continue amid silence from authorities over precautions being taken for the protection of the elderly politician.
Following recent claims by the pro-government journalist Fuat Ugur, who warned about a potential assassination plot against the dissident leader, Kilicdaroglu announced on Friday during an interview that he knew he was “being followed” and his family’s telephones were being wiretapped.
“People know the places I go to, the house I stay at, the places I visit, and the people I talk with. And I am very well aware that I am being followed. My security detail is doing their best to protect me,” Kilicdaroglu said.
“There is a group that is really uneasy about me. If someone who is managing the country or a political party that backs them is attempting to silence the opposition by getting the support of a criminal network, then democracy and human rights are over at that point. It means that the authoritarian regime has gone into a process of getting more authoritarian.”
The CHP leader has been repeatedly criticized by Devlet Bahceli, an ally of the government, while he was also threatened to “watch his step” by Alaattin Cakici, a notorious mafia leader politically affiliated with Bahceli’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Kilicdaroglu, who “angered” the mafia boss over his remarks about the imprisonment of political prisoners and the release of mafia bosses due to an amnesty law, recently filed a criminal complaint against Cakici after he issued the hand-written threat of physical violence, and organized a press conference.
“Turkey is experiencing that where there is no law, where there is no judiciary, the state can become an organized crime state after a period of time,” he said.
Journalist Ugur recently wrote that Kilicdaroglu would be murdered similarly to Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, who was shot dead in Ankara in 2016 during an art exhibition.
“Cakici will be held responsible for this murder. Therefore, a perception that the government ordered the assassination will be generated,” he wrote in his Nov. 28 column for a pro-government newspaper.