Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed that an opposition lawmaker who recently called Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a “criminal organization” is himself a terrorist, local media reported.
The lawmaker targeted by Erdoğan, who spoke to reporters following Friday prayers in İstanbul, was Ahmet Şık from the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), also a former journalist.
Şık said during a program on the Medyascope news channel earlier this week that the AKP will be shut down for being a criminal organization and some of its members will be prosecuted if it loses power in the 2023 elections.
“This person is himself a terrorist. Somehow he got the chance to be elected to parliament. … He doesn’t have the power to shut down the [AKP]. He should think more about how he will save himself [from prosecution],” Erdoğan said.
It’s common for Erdoğan to accuse opposition party politicians of being terrorists. Jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul branch chairperson Canan Kaftancıoğlu are other opposition politicians who were labelled “terrorists” by Erdoğan.
Şık was quick to respond to Erdoğan’s remarks, saying in a tweet that independent members of the judiciary will decide who is a “terrorist” and who is a “gang leader” when Erdoğan’s rule comes to an end and the rule of law is restored in the country.
İktidarınız sona erip memlekete hukuk geldiğinde, menfaatini değil hukukun haysiyetini önemseyen şimdiki gibi kuklaya çevirdiklerinize benzemeyen yargı mensupları kimin terörist kimin çete lideri olduğuna karar verecek.
O zaman konuşuruz bu konuyu. https://t.co/BMZWORRdEg
— ahmet şık (@sahmetsahmet) September 2, 2022
Meanwhile, the AKP filed a lawsuit this week seeking TL 100,000 ($5,500) in damages from Şık for “attacking the prestige of the party” in his recent remarks.
Erdoğan and his AKP are accused by critics of establishing one-man rule in the country, engaging in massive corruption and using the state’s resources for the benefit of their families and cronies, while the Turkish people are overwhelmed by the increasing cost of living caused by the depreciation of the Turkish lira and a record level of inflation at nearly 80 percent.