Bülent Arınç, a founding member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and former deputy prime minister, has said that mafia leader Alaatin Çakıcı has not just targeted main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu with his threats, but also parliament and democracy.
“Although this threat seems to have targeted Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, it has been in fact made against democracy. There is nothing to approve about it. It has been made against both parliament and democracy. Parliament speaker needs to have a look at it. We should not keep silent in the face of a threat made against a leader of a political party,” Arınç said in comments made to journalist Deniz Zeyrek, following a TV program aired on Habertürk on Nov. 19.
Zeyrek wrote in his column on Nov. 21 that following the TV program he had the time to ask Arınç what he thought about Çakıcı's threatening letter against the main opposition leader. The issue came up after Arınç saw CHP vice chair Oğuz Kaan Salıcı at the premises of Habertürk channel and the two talked about the letter targeting Kılıçdaroğlu.
Çakıcı's threat against Kılıçdaroğlu came after the latter's criticism of the government for allowing the release of “mafia leaders and drug traffickers" in an amnesty law in April.
Çakıcı was released from prison on April 16 as part of the law that was drafted by the ruling AKP and its junior coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Journalists and political prisoners were excluded from the government's amnesty law.
Çakıcı's release had been a long-term project for MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli. Shortly after calling for a general amnesty on May 12, 2018, Bahçeli had paid a visit to Çakıcı in prison, who he deemed “a lover of the nation.”
Çakıcı's statement on Nov. 17 told Kılıçdaroğlu to “watch his step.” “If you put Bahçeli in the same pot as traitors, you would be making the mistake of your life,” Çakıcı wrote in an open letter posted on Twitter.
The AKP announced on Nov. 19 that an investigation was launched into Çakıcı, after staying silent on the issue for two days.
“The prosecutor’s office started an investigation regarding the threatening letter of Çakıcı. We are against all kinds of insults and defamation,” AKP group deputy chair Bülent Turan said – the first person from the party to comment on the issue after two days.
Meanwhile, Bahçeli, a key political ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said he strongly backed Çakıcı, calling him a comrade and a patriot.