Local opposition youth branch official arrested after Erdoğan remarks

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A youth branch official from Turkey’s main opposition party was arrested on Saturday by an Adana court after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted him, according to the T24 news website.

Eren Yıldırım, head of the Adana youth branch of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), was detained by police on Thursday due to a complaint from the Yüreğir district governor.

According to the report when Yıldırım saw a number of men carrying aid kits from one official vehicle registered to the governor’s office to another registered to the district municipality, he asked them about the destination of the kits.

President Erdoğan’s government recently banned local municipalities, especially those run by opposition mayors, from distributing aid to residents. Observers interpreted the ban as Erdoğan attempting to deny the opposition the opportunity to gain public admiration during the coronavirus epidemic.

Some police officers, night watchmen and gendarmes recently launched a social support group, called Vefa Destek Grubu, for elderly people who are subject to a nationwide curfew.

What Yıldırım saw was an activity carried out by this support group, according to the reports.

Later, a heated debate started between Yıldırım and the men, one of whom was reportedly a guard for the district governor. When Yıldırım called the police, the officers took him into custody instead, saying that they had received a complaint from the district governor, who was not at the scene.

Yıldırım was released pending trial after a brief detention.

But a day later, President Erdoğan speaking during a teleconference broadcast to the public targeted Yıldırım, likening him to the Kurdish militia members who allegedly killed two aid workers from the same support group in Van last week.

“What [the Kurdish militia] has done in the east is being done by the CHP in the west,” Erdoğan said.

On Saturday, the Yüreğir Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed the court’s verdict of release pending trial, and another court ordered the arrest of the CHP official.

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