Kılıçdaroğlu accused the prime minister of being involved in corruption and bribery while pretending to be religious. “I am speaking to the heart of this nation, the hearts of veterans, workers, farmers, pensioners and the unemployed,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
Accompanied by his wife Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu, the CHP leader addressed some 10,000 Kırklareli residents in Cumhuriyet Square. Many in the crowd carried placards with slogans referring to the prime minister, the government and the ongoing corruption scandal such as, “No money for the farmer, worker or pensioner while Bilal has plenty,” “Thief!” and “Our vote is our honor, it is not for sale.”
Noting that police officers often warn him not to play the audio recordings alleged to be conversations between Erdoğan and his son in public, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “I am speaking to my police officer brothers, you are the police of the people, not the police of a ‘thief.’ The police should fight against corruption, not serve those who steal from the state.”
According to Kılıçdaroğlu, in the leaked recordings “the prime minister admits that he stole from the country.” The CHP leader claimed that the recordings reveal that Erdoğan called his son at 8:00 in the morning on Dec. 17 when the first phase of a major corruption operation took place at several addresses and warned him about the police raids, instructing him to dispose of a large sum of money. “Those who previously voted for the Justice and Development Party [AK Party], be honest and say how you feel after learning this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Kılıçdaroğlu added that he respects the democratic choice of the people, but warned that the public should not help politicians profit illegally with their votes.
Kılıçdaroğlu also addressed the claims that Erdoğan formed a pool of money from contributions received from businessmen in order to create a pro-government media environment, stating that businessmen gave a total of $630 million to that pool in exchange for public tenders that were illegally awarded.
Speaking about the former head of the state-run Halkbank, Süleyman Aslan, Kılıçdaroğlu reminded the crowd that $4.5 million in cash was found in shoeboxes in Aslan’s home during the Dec. 17 police raid. Kılıçdaroğlu said: “Who is the protector of this man? The prime minister is.”
The CHP leader also spoke about the allegations concerning villas illegally constructed in a first-degree environmentally protected area in İzmir’s Urla district. “He builds a villa wherever he spots a vacancy. The governor of İzmir ordered that the villas in question should be razed. After hearing about the order, Erdoğan gives instruction for the villas to be saved and reassigned the governor to Diyarbakır,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.