The Interior Ministry has assigned more security guards to protect CHP Chair Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu amid an increasing number of death threats against senior leaders from the main opposition.
“I know well that the phones of myself, my wife and my children are being listened to. I know well that I am being followed. [I have] guards. They are trying their best,” Kilicdaroglu said Dec. 4.
Despite mob boss Alaattin Cakici’s death threats against him (ANKA Weekly, Nov.16-22, 2020) – as well as the MHP chair’s support for the ultranationalist mafia leader’s comments – Kilicdaroglu said no one could scare him.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, meanwhile, also attacked Kilicdaroglu, denying that anyone was following or listening to him. Soylu invited him to file a criminal complaint while accusing him of trying to change the agenda.
Not long after, the spokesman for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality said senior ISIL officials had ordered Imamoglu’s killing on Nov. 23. The General Directorate of Security, which is under the authority of the Interior Ministry, rejected the claims that Imamoglu was being targeted but noted that it periodically receives information about death threats against high-profile figures.
But Imamoglu insisted on the veracity of the warning issued to his security guards and complained that the ministry didn’t inform him about the threat.
This past week, pro-government journalist Fuat Ugur claimed that Kilicdaroglu would be assassinated just like Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was in 2016.
“As in Iran, assassinations might be conducted against people who are important to us [in Turkey],” former AKP MP and Hurriyet writer Fuat Bol wrote this week.
Another columnist from the same daily, Nedim Sener, claimed that Mossad could organize an assassination in Turkey with the help of subcontractors in a similar fashion to last week’s killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran.
“WE COULD HAVE KILLED HIM IF WE WANTED TO”
Meanwhile, the men charged with attacking Kilicdaroglu during a soldier’s funeral in April 2019 defended their actions during the first hearing in the case on Nov. 30, declaring that they could have killed the CHP leader if they had really wanted to.
“If we had wanted to kill Kilicdaroglu, he wouldn’t have been able to get out of there. There was such a big crowd,” said one of the defendants, Vahit Delibas.
Another defendant, Osman Sarigun, who punched Kilicdaroglu during the funeral, said, “I’ve forgotten. Too much time has passed.”
Only four media institutions, including ANKA, covered the trial, as the pro-government media has shown no interest in the case. The trial has been adjourned until March 2021.
In April 2019, Kilicdaroglu was attacked by a group of people during his visit to the town Cubuk near Ankara for the funeral of a soldier. Thirty-six people were charged with several offenses, including attacking a public official, insulting a public official and inciting people to commit crime.