Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has called an opposition deputy a “traitor” in a meeting held in parliament.
During the meeting that Interior Ministry’s budget for 2020 was discussed on Nov. 20, Felicity (Saadet) deputy Cihangir İslam slammed the government for silencing opposition voices.
“You lock the ones you can’t silence and call them ‘traitors,'” İslam said following Soylu’s remarks regarding mayors sacked over terror charges.
As Soylu defended dismissals and imprisonings of mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) upon HDP deputy Garo Paylan’s criticisms, İslam asked the minister whether Ahmet Altan, a prominent journalist who was briefly released earlier this month before being rearrested, had anything to do with terror.
İslam also criticized Soylu for “collaborating with” what the government calls the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen – a friend-turned-foe of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) – which was followed by lawmakers from the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) reacting harshly to İslam.
The harsh exchange of words evolved into a brawl after HDP deputies also got involved.
“May God curse those collaborating with FETÖ. You’re showing off. You came here to show off,” Soylu told İslam, as other AKP deputies continued to shout at the opposition deputy as well.
“You have no shame,” İslam told Soylu in return.
“Don’t talk about shame, don’t be immoral. You are a man with no manners. You have always betrayed the Turkish Republic. You are a traitor. Everyone knows that you are a provocateur,” Soylu told İslam, while lawmakers of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party intervened to calm both sides down.
İslam, in return, told the minister, “You will go.”
42 mayors sentenced to 286 years in prison
Earlier in the meeting, Soylu shared information about mayors dismissed before the March 31 elections.
“Some 42 of the 94 mayors who were dismissed were sentenced to a total of 286 years in prison,” Soylu said, adding that 19 of them were arrested, 59 are being tried without arrest, six have judicial control decision and a warrant was issued for eight of them.