Erdoğan silence on Çakıcı-Kılıçdaroğlu row prompted by political interests  - Babacan

The leader of Turkey’s opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) Ali Babacan on Saturday accused former ally and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of pursuing his own political interests by remaining silent during an ongoing row between organised crime leader and the leader of the country’s main opposition party, Sözcü newspaper reported.

Under Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), “Turkey has become a country where mafia, gangs and crime organizations make public threats,’’ Babacan said, stressing that the Turkish president has remained silent as a mafia boss threatened a politician.

“He (Erdoğan) is remaining silent because he is afraid his alliance will be ruined,’’ Babacan added, referring the ruling alliance of the AKP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Notorious crime boss Alaattin Çakıcı on Tuesday targeted main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, after the latter criticized the government over Çakıcı’s release from prison.

Çakıcı told Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to “watch his step,’’ prompting the CHP leader to file a criminal complaint over the handwritten threat shared on Twitter.

Çakıcı was released in April as part of an amnesty law designed to free up to one third of the country’s prison population after Erdoğan’s junior coalition partner and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, called for a general amnesty, specifically citing Çakıcı, with whom he is known to have close ties.

“This country can not be ruled by mafia or criminal organizations,’’ Babacan said, stressing that his DEVA Party would not tolerate threats against elected officials, especially by leaders of criminal organizations.