Main opposition leader's security detail beefed up amid concerns on political assassinations

Turkish main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has increased the number of security officers surrounding him as the country's agenda is occupied with concerns of political assassinations, journalist Barış Pehlivan said on Oct. 19.

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Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu increased the number of his personal security officers shortly after his public statement that he was concerned about political assassinations in Turkey, journalist Barış Pehlivan wrote in his column in daily Cumhuriyet on Oct. 19.

Kılıçdaroğlu's concerns about political assassinations stem from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's very own remarks on the opposition. 

Erdoğan drew condemnation from the opposition after praising a verbal attack against right-wing Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener in the Black Sea province of Rize in May. 

Akşener on May 20 was forced to cut her visit short to Rize, Erdoğan's hometown, after a pro-government group launched a verbal attack on her.

Speaking to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a week after the attack, Erdoğan called Akşener "Mrs. Bride," in reference to her remarks about her husband being from Rize.

"She was taught a very fine lesson," Erdoğan said of the attack on Akşener. "You should thank God that they taught you a lesson without going too far. As if İkizdere wasn't enough, you went to Çayeli. They did what they were supposed to do there as well," Erdoğan said on May 26, adding that "more will follow."

Kılıçdaroğlu has recently expressed concern over more political assassination attempts, which was followed by İYİ Party deputy leader Koray Aydın sharing the same concerns. 

"We have also received reports of political assassinations," Aydın said on Oct. 10. 

Most recently, the president's attorney petitioned the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office to investigate the claims, which is when Cumhuriyet journalist Barış Pehlivan received reports that the main opposition chairman had boosted private security measures.

During his Oct. 17 speech at a local media workshop held by Aegean Marmaris Municipality, reporters noticed that Kılıçdaroğlu was surrounded by more security officers than usual.

"Reporters said that the CHP leader's private security had been boosted. They observed a circle of protection around him featuring more police officers than before," Pehlivan wrote.

The journalist noted that the increase with regards to the main opposition leader's security measures was credited to his concerns about political assassinations.