Main opposition deputy challenges Erdoğan on ties to Soros

A deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a photo showing him with businessman George Soros, Ankara's main suspect for having funded the 2013 anti-government Gezi protests. "What does this leg belong to?" said CHP group deputy chairperson Engin Altay as he held up the photo. This was a response to comments made by Erdoğan about Osman Kavala being "Soros' arm in Turkey."

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Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) group deputy chairperson Engin Altay showed a photo of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and George Soros in parliament on Feb. 20, contrasting the image to Erdoğan's criticism of the Philanthropist.

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On Feb. 19, President Erdoğan had criticized a court ruling to acquit businessman, human rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala from charges of affiliation with Soros, Ankara's prime suspect for funding the anti-government Gezi Protests of 2013.

“They tried to acquit Soros’ arm in Turkey [Kavala]. Gezi was an assault against the state and the people, like a terror attack, like a coup attempt,” Erdoğan had said on Feb. 19. following Kavala's acquittal after more than two years of detention, and subsequent re-arrest.

"If Osman Kavala is the Turkey leg of Soros, here is Erdoğan in Davos in 2003, Ömer Çelik is here and across from them are George Soros and his team. What does this leg belong to?" Altay said while holding up the photo of Erdoğan and the businessman during a press conference in parliament.

Altay said that he wasn't commenting on any affiliations between Kavala and Soros and that the independent judiciary was to rule on that.

"Kavala is the one who will inform the public on that matter. I wonder what this leg here belongs to. This photo best shows who's closest to Soros," Altay said.

Discussions over "arms", "legs", "wings" and "branches" have recently been a recurring theme in Turkish politics. A debate has flared over the "political leg of FETÖ," a network led by the U.S.-based cleric Fetullah Gülen that Ankara regards as a terrorist organization and holds responsible for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

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