Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has commented on the reports of threats to his personal safety, saying he knows “he is being followed and his family members' telephones are wiretapped.”
Kılıçdaroğlu made the comments on Dec. 4 during an interview with journalist Murat Sabuncu from online news portal T24.
“The places I go to are known. The house I stay at is known. The places I visit are known. The people I talk with are known. In any case, I know that my, my wife's and my children's telephones are wiretapped. And I am very well aware that I am being followed. My security guards are doing their best [to protect me],” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP leader said that there is “a serious threat” against his personal safety and the government is similarly disturbed about these threats.
“There is a group that is really disturbed by me. The rulership is also uncomfortable with this. But if someone who is managing the country or a political party that backs them is attempting to silence [the opposition] by getting the support of the underworld, then democracy is over at that point, human rights are over. It means that the authoritarian regime has gone into a process of getting more authoritarian,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Recently, pro-government journalist Fuat Uğur made claims of an imminent assassination attempt against Kılıçdaroğlu. Uğur said threats indicated that Kılıçdaroğlu would be killed in a similar way to Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov who was shot dead in Ankara in 2016 during an art exhibition.
Kılıçdaroğlu has been recently criticized by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, a staunch ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Bahçeli deemed the CHP "a national security issue" while he was commenting on a CHP deputy's remarks on the army "being sold to Qataris" in recent deals.
Notorious mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı, who has close ties to Bahçeli, in November publicly threatened Kılıçdaroğlu with a “watch your step” warning over the main opposition leader's criticism of the government for allowing the release of “mafia leaders and drug traffickers.”
“Alaattin Çakıcı will be held responsible for such an unidentified murder. Therefore, a perception that the government ordered the assassination will be generated,” Uğur wrote in his Nov. 28 column for Türkiye newspaper.
Uğur also claimed that Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu of the CHP will replace Kılıçdaroğlu, which will create an even greater atmosphere of chaos.