Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has turned down a demand from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli to pardon a number of convicts in Turkey, while Bahçeli insists on his offer.
“Mr. Bahçeli’s demand or offer is his own. Right now we, with our government, certainly do not have such a consideration,” Erdoğan said on May 13 before leaving Istanbul for a three-day visit to the United Kingdom.
Erdoğan’s remarks came a day after Bahçeli called for an amnesty for convicts excluding child abusers, murderers of women, rapists, and members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In further remarks on May 13, Bahçeli said his party is “determined on the issue.”
“We are behind our words, and with God’s will, we hope that an amnesty will be approved,” he said.
The MHP leader made initial the call on Twitter on May 12.
“Why is favoring the victims of fate, who long for their loved ones in prison, not considered?” Bahçeli leader posted on his official account, saying the offer excluded “child abusers, rapists, murderers of women and members of the PKK and FETÖ.”
Once again accusing presidential candidates from other parties who were supported by 100,000 signatures of being “supported by FETÖ or the PKK,” Bahçeli also blasted a petition demanding the release of Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned candidate of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“If men who are in love with their homeland and ideals, who are known to be the brave and fearless man of their mission, such as Alattin Çakıcı or Kürşat Yılmaz, were presented as candidates by the signatures of 100,000 nationalists, would there be such a petition for their release?” Bahçeli said.
High-profile Turkish mafia leader Çakıcı is currently in Bolu Prison, serving a sentence for instigating the murder of his ex-wife Nuriye Uğur Kılıç. He is also convicted of several crimes including organizing and leading a crime syndicate for the purpose of generating profit, instigating murder, instigating injury, and insulting President Erdoğan.
His name is known in connection to a number of notorious armed crimes and he was first arrested after the 1980 coup d’etat, tried in relation to cases involving the MHP and a number of nationalist organizations in connection to the murder of 41 people. He was later arrested in France’s Nice in 1998, after which he claimed that he had been working for Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) abroad.
Kürşat Yılmaz was a member of Nationalist Youth Organization (ÜGD) before the 1980 coup. Extradited to Turkey in 1999, he has been since then in prison for instigating the murder of former Kuşadası Mayor Lütfi Suyolcu.
“How just and fair is it to leave these brothers of ours rotting behind walls?” Bahçeli said.
CHP: ‘Serious issue to consider over Twitter’
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Bülent Tezcan criticized the MHP head’s call for an amnesty.
“These subjects are not something to discuss over Twitter. They are serious. They should first prepare the scope, what they want, and what they are doing before discussing it,” Tezcan said after visiting jailed CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu in Istanbul on May 13.
“This is not something to discuss like handing out candy before an election. It should be discussed in parliament. The proper scope and framework should be assessed,” he added.