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Opposition files complaints against Minister Soylu for requesting military standby during elections

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The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has filed five criminal complaints against Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, with one of them accusing the minister of requesting the use of military vehicles to ensure the safe conduct of the May 14 elections if deemed necessary, local media reported on Friday.

CHP İzmir MP Murat Bakan on Friday announced during a press conference that they had filed five complaints against Soylu and would file more.

Bakan said one of the complaints is related to an official request made by the Security and Emergency Situations Coordination Center (GAMER) office in Izmir, the election tracking system of the Interior Ministry, to have Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) personnel and armored vehicles on standby if governors’ offices deem it necessary to ensure the safe conduct of the elections.

“Are we going to elections or to war? What is this? Why does GAMER need TSK personnel? There are police officers assigned to the ballot boxes [already]. … Why did … Soylu write this [request] about the availability of TSK [vehicles]?” the lawmaker said.

According to Turkish media reports, another one of the criminal complaints concerns an application on Soylu’s phone that can determine a person’s identity in just a few seconds after his photo is taken with the phone.

Soylu introduced the application, called “KİM” (Who), which is normally used in intelligence operations, in a video released on the YouTube channel of Turkey’s biggest online technology website, ShiftDelete.Net, last week.

Bakan said they filed the complaint because Soylu’s revealing the technical capabilities of the Turkish police to foreign intelligence agencies in the video constitutes the crimes of “abuse of state secrets” and “disloyalty to the state in the performance of public service.”

The MP said they also filed a complaint regarding irregularities in the examination for the position of chief of police and another one about “the trolls who were admitted into the police force.”

“Instead of hiring more than 500 contract workers … as staff after 2016, they formed a troll army within the police force by selecting their own people for it. This troll army can access the personal data of every individual in … Turkey. This constitutes not only the crime of abuse of duty but also the crimes of benefiting from state secrets and disloyalty to state services,” Bakan explained.

The CHP MP said they also filed a criminal complaint accusing Soylu of “openly insulting and defaming a public servant,” “spreading misleading information to the public” and “abusing his power” in relation to the statements Soylu made about him.

Soylu previously accused Bakan of links to “FETÖ,” a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup in 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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