Turkey, Politics

Turkish Deputy PM dismisses Erdogan allegations

Bekir Bozdag says opposition Republican People's Party part of 'big campaign of slander against Turkey'

Turkish Deputy PM dismisses Erdogan allegations Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag ( Ercin Top - Anadolu Agency )

By Cansu Dikme and Kubra Chohan


Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Thursday accused the country’s main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of being part of “a big campaign of slander against Turkey”.

“There is a big campaign of slander against Turkey; the FETO and the U.S. sympathizers in the New York leg, and the CHP in the Turkey leg,” Bozdag told Anadolu Agency’s Editors' Desk in capital Ankara.

He said CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu should reveal the content of documents alleging wrongdoing on the part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to everyone in front of journalists, parliamentarians and on television instead of "waving the papers at the group meeting".

On Tuesday, Kilicdaroglu, in a speech to party lawmakers, presented documents he claimed were evidence of his claims that relatives of Erdogan had stashed money abroad.

Erdogan rejected the allegations and vowed to resign if they could be proved.

Bozdag described the ongoing U.S. trial of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla as “theatre”, comparing it to Kilicdaroglu’s accusations against Erdogan in Turkey.

“We shouldn’t think of these two as separate cases. Because the goal of both is Turkey; both target Turkey’s president and its government,” he said.

The deputy premier said he did not expect “justice” in the U.S. trial.

Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf has testified in the ongoing trial of Atilla, the former deputy general manager of Turkey’s Halkbank.

Sarraf was detained last year on charges of violating sanctions against Iran; Atilla was arrested in the U.S. earlier this year on similar sanctions violations charges.

Erdogan-Trump phone call

About last Friday’s phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Erdogan during which Turkey was promised that Washington would not provide weapons to PKK/PYD terror group anymore, Bozdag said Turkey would monitor the process.

“We should see the reflection of [Trump’s] promise on the ground. Mr. Trump made this statement, and, of course, we will follow it up in the field to see whether he provides weapons or not from now on.”

On Nov. 24, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Trump “clearly” stated that the U.S would not deliver PKK/PYD weapons anymore.

Bozdag also commented on a different statement by the Pentagon after the leaders’ phone call, that said: “The weapons provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces [PKK/PYD], to include its Kurdish elements, would be limited, mission-specific and provided incrementally to achieve military objectives”.

“We speak to Mr. Trump, and Trump speaks to Pentagon. The Pentagon is not our direct addressee,” Bozdag said.

The SDF is a U.S.-backed force that consists largely of PKK/PYD terrorists in Syria's Raqqah.

'Historic' Sochi summit

Trump was the first person to say that providing weapons to a terrorist organization was wrong, he added, “We see these as positive developments”.

Erdogan said on Tuesday he would talk to Trump again “in the coming days”.

Bozdag also said Syria’s Afrin is on Turkey’s main agenda.

“We have told all our interlocutors that we will not allow developments against Turkey, in all our meetings with the U.S., Russia, and Iran.

"What is happening in these regions is our main agenda. Afrin is our main agenda,” he noted.

Describing last week’s trilateral Syria meeting in Russia’s Sochi as “historic”, Bozdag said: “It was the meeting that the hope for an end to clashes in Syria rose to its peak. It influenced all the world.”

On Nov. 22, Erdogan met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi to discuss Syria.

During the meeting, the three leaders agreed to convene a congress of Syrian groups to advance a political solution for the war-torn nation.

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