Turkish Police Detain Lawyer of Main Opposition Leader

main opposition, CHP leader, Turkish police
CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu delivers a speech to media.

In the latest crackdown on political opposition in Turkey, police on Friday detained the lawyer representing the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

CHP Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu dismissed Celal Celik‘s detention over alleged links to the Gulen movement as absurd. He said the the move was politically motivated, noting that Mr. Celik was a known critic of the movement and resigned from the supreme court in 2011 in protest of it.

“What happened today is a disgrace in the name of democracy. It is an eclipse of the mind,” Mr. Kilicdaroglu said.

Mr. Celik, a former judge in one of Turkey’s top courts, later served as a legal counselor to the leader of the country’s secular main opposition party.

He is one of many Gulen critics to be detained in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt. More than 50,000 people have been jailed and some 150,000 public workers were sacked over real or perceived links to Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric accused by Ankara of orchestrating the failed putsch.

CHP said Mr. Celik’s arrest was an act of intimidation against their leader. Deputy Chairman Bulent Tezcan said if Mr. Celik’s house can be raided, then every person in Turkey faces the same threat.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his lieutenants have ramped up their rhetoric against the CHP leader since he led a protest march from Ankara to Istanbul in late June and early July. Mr. Erdogan has suggested that CHP leader might even be arrested.