A row erupted between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over a column alleging that a politician from the CHP secretly met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the presidential palace.
In his column published on Nov. 20, Rahmi Turan from daily Sözcü claimed that a “significant” politician from the CHP visited Erdoğan late on Nov. 9.
“You need to be the head of the CHP for Turkey’s security. Think about it, make a decision. This is necessary for the good of the country. And I can be of help!” Erdoğan reportedly told the mysterious main opposition politician, who in return reportedly said, “There are obstacles in front of me.”
While Turan refrained from revealing the name of the politician in his column on Nov. 21, the alleged meeting topped the agenda of politicians from the AKP and the CHP.
When asked about Turan’s claims, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that he wasn’t surprised.
“When I read it, I said ‘This is true’ to myself,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Nov. 21, adding that several names popped in his head.
“They have groups that aim to dissolve and disband the CHP. Erdoğan wants to disband the CHP and make it seem that we can’t govern the country,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also urged Erdoğan to comment on the column.
“Erdoğan, who speaks about everything, keeps silent on this issue. I’m asking Erdoğan loud and clearly: Is this story true or false?” he said.
CHP deputy leader and spokesperson Faik Öztrak, meanwhile, said that the government is trying to create a scenario to make it seem that there’s disorder within the main opposition.
“No one is powerful enough to design us and no one should dare to do so,” Öztrak told reporters.
Also on the same day, a statement was released by Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, who denied that a meeting was held, saying that the allegations are unreal and imaginary.
“Our President didn’t hold such meeting either in the presidential palace or somewhere else and the dialogue in question didn’t take place,” Altun said, adding that Erdoğan, in his 43 years in politics, “has never intervened in the internal affairs of another party.”
“We would like to state that keeping the public busy with these political gossips will not benefit those who are trying to protect their political future,” he also said.
Saying that the issue constitutes politics of slander and lies, Altun noted that they are “following the unreal statements made by some politicians who are trying to poison the political climate via accepting the news are correct with deep concern.”
Another name to comment on the issue was AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş, who said that the CHP shouldn’t use Erdoğan as a tool in its internal conflicts.
AKP Group Deputy chairman Bülent Turan, meanwhile, said that the agenda of both Erdoğan and the AKP is Turkey and the people.
“We are laughing at these baseless allegations with pity,” Turan said.
“The fact that Kılıçdaroğlu is trying to use our President as a tool in his fight for power shows the sad situation he’s in,” he added.