İzmir - Adıyaman, Oct 23 () - The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) refusal to take disciplinary action against Istanbul deputy Abdurrahim Boynukalın indicates that it supports recent physical attacks against the offices of daily Hürriyet, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said.
“What he said at the AKP’s Mersin meeting amounts to a confession. He is confessing that they raided a newspaper with backing from the AKP’s youth branch. The one who carried out the raid is telling the truth,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Oct. 22, referring to new video footage published by private broadcaster CNN Türk showing Boynukalın defending the Sept. 6 and 8 attacks on the Hürriyet HQ during a meeting with AKP youth members in Turkey’s southern province of Mersin.
“This shows that he is supported both by his party and by the government because he has still not been expelled from his party and no action has been taken against him,” he added.
Boynukalın delivered a speech to the AKP youth in Mersin on Oct. 19 in a meeting he attended alongside Lütfi Elvan, an AKP Antalya deputy and former transport minister, as well as local AKP politicians. In his speech, Boynukalın claimed the attack against Hürriyet had “lifted the newspaper’s immunity.”
“These guys [referring to Hürriyet] thought they could curse this country’s Islamic values and anybody else they wanted to curse at, and that no one would be able to touch them. Friends, the AKP youth lifted their immunity three weeks ago,” he said.
Praising the violent protest for making headlines, Boynukalın urged the AKP members to take the streets more often.
“The AKP youth had been criticized for losing its common cause, for not taking the streets and demonstrating. Look, our affair with Hürriyet was discussed for weeks,” he said. “We need to have self-confidence. We need to take action” Boynukalın added. “Feeling the support of our organization helped us in lifting this immunity. God bless you” he said.
“He [Boynukalın] said, ‘I destroyed their immunity.’ This gives the message, ‘I attacked and anybody else can attack too.’ If Prime Minister [Ahmet] Davutoğlu is sincere and if he believes in free media, then he should expel this person from the party immediately. If not it means that both the party and the government have been supporting [Boynukalın]. But if Davutoğlu doesn’t have the power required for doing this, then he should come forward and announce who is running his party” Kılıçdaroğlu said, implying President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“If this person [Boynukalın] is still a symbol for the AKP youth and if he will guide them, then it would mean that the AKP is behind the attack [on Hürriyet]. That is a dangerous approach” he added.
The speech in Mersin was not the first instance in which Boynukalın has been seen uttering threats on video.
Footage also surfaced on Sept. 19 showing him expressing regret that they “never beat up” Hürriyet journalists in the past.
Similarly, another video published earlier showed Boynukalın vowing to “make Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the president” regardless of the result of the Nov. 1 election, also describing independent media organizations as “terrorists.”