Turkey’s Opposition Candidate Rejects Claims of Kidnapping on Election Night
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem Ince refused claims of being kidnapped or threatened on the election night amid ongoing controversy over his long disappearance during that night on June 24.
He excoriated a pro-government journalist who claimed that Ince was forcefully placed in family custody to avoid reckless remarks after learning his defeat in the presidential election last Sunday.
In a series of tweets, Ince castigated Fuat Ugur, chief writer of pro-Erdogan Turkiye newspaper for his column dwelling upon the mysterious disappearance of the CHP candidate during election night.
The long silence and disappearance of Ince during election night plunged the social media into a frenzy of conspiracy theories. It even created well-found suspicion and fear that Ince might have faced threats from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over challenging election results.
A week after the election, the controversy has remained fresh. On Monday, Ince responded to Journalist Ugur who claimed that Ince was drunk while the vote count was taking place. His family members and friends tried to stop him from going to media to speak about the election result, the journalist went on to claim.
“They even locked him inside his bedroom for hours,” Ugur wrote.
Ince challenged him and urged him to prove his claims.
“Everything said or written or shared that suggested that I was silenced or threatened or kidnapped or I was in a state that unable to make any statement was a lie,” he wrote on Twitter.
6- Seçim gecesi susturulduğum, tehdit edildiğim, kaçırıldığım, açıklama yapamayacak durumda olduğum yönünde söylenen/yazılan/paylaşılan her şey yalandır.
— Muharrem İNCE (@vekilince) July 2, 2018
“I was not kidnapped, my wife was not kidnapped from the place where I was following election results, I postponed to make a statement to 12:00 pm on Monday and I made that [press] statement at CHP Headquarters,” he wrote.
Ince who cultivated a good connection with his base created a disappointment when he did not appear to concede defeat in a concluding speech after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) declared Erdogan’s win in the presidential vote.
When media tried to reach him, he was unavailable. Journalist Ismail Kucukkaya read his Whatsapp message on FOX Channel. In that message, Ince told him “The man [Erdogan] has won, what can I say?”
But the way he admitted defeat, avoiding his supporters and media, fueled a sense of betrayal on the part of his base and triggered speculations whether he was threatened by authorities.
But he steadfastly refused media reports and allegations of threats against him.
“I, my team, CHP, other political parties could not detect irregularities that could have affected the election results. If there is someone who can and if he can convince me then I would fight to the end,” Ince said.
I cannot say that the election and the election period took place in fairness or in line with the rule of law but I have to make this statement to say that conspiracy theories produced in the aftermath of the election are not true,” he added.
President Erdogan was re-elected with 52.4 percent of the votes against his main contender Ince’s 30.8 percent. His win ushered in a new era as the new executive presidential system takes into effect.
With the new system, Erdogan possesses sweeping powers such as the ability to appoint all ministers, issue decrees, declare a state of emergency, dissolve Parliament, appoint the head of the intelligence agency, army commanders, university rectors and having greater say over judicial affairs.