Turkey's main opposition CHP a ‘national security issue,’ says Erdoğan ally

The leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Tuesday blasted the main opposition party, referring to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) as a “a national security issue,” Bianet news website reported.

Devlet Bahçeli accused the CHP of “siding with enmity against Turkey,” while speaking on CHP lawmaker Ali Mahir Başarır’s recent remarks criticising the Turkish military, which has landed him in legal hot water. 

Başarır had accused Ankara of selling the Turkish military to Qataris following a string of agreements signed between Ankara and Doha.

“It is (a) shameful and dishonourable (development) that a CHP deputy calls the Turkish army ‘sold’,” Bahçeli, the junior coalition partner of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said during a MHP group meeting, noting that Başarır should be held accountable for the remarks.

Başarır is under investigation over the remarks he made last month, condemning a contract signed last year with military vehicle producer BMC, a joint Turkish-Qatari venture, for the mass production of the Altay tank.

“The CHP is a political defect and shame that has taken an opposition against Turkey,” the MHP leader added. “The CHP has become a national security issue.”

Meanwhile, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Tuesday levelled the same accusation at Erdoğan, while criticizing the president for defending the deals with Qatar, Evrensel newspaper reported.

“If the president of a country is being threatened over his assets, and if sovereign forces are meeting the president’s demands, then that president is now a national security problem,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Senior AKP officials were also quick to join the debate.

AKP Spokesman Ömer Çelik on Tuesday took a jab at the CHP leader, calling him “a democracy problem.”

The CHP leader has “once again spoken with the same language as the enemies of Turkey’s rights and interests,” Çelik said on Twitter.

AKP group chairman Cahit Özkan echoed the MHP leader’s remarks, also calling Kılıçdaroğlu  “a national security issue,” ABC news website reported.