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Turkey`s opposition chief targeted over jail remarks

Kemal Kilicdaroglu in November likened the Silivri prison near Istanbul to a concentration camp.

Ankara: Turkish prosecutors want to press charges against the head of Turkey`s main opposition party after he criticised the detention conditions of suspected coup plotters, media reports said on Tuesday.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the social-democratic Republican People`s Party (CHP), in November likened the Silivri prison near Istanbul to a concentration camp. And on Friday, Kilicdaroglu questioned the impartiality of the justice system after the arrest of former Army chief, Ilker Basbug, over an alleged bid to topple the Islamist-rooted government.

General Basbug and others are being investigated for ties to the so-called Ergenekon network, a shadowy group the government has blamed for a variety of violent acts.

Basbug, who was Army chief from 2008 to 2010, is the most senior officer to be implicated in a sprawling investigation into the secular network.

He was not charged but placed in preventive custody at Silivri, where hundreds of suspects implicated in the Ergenekon investigation are being held.

Turkish authorities accuse the ultra-nationalist network of being behind several plots to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The suspects include many active and retired officers as well as journalists and academics.

Prosecutors have asked that Kilicdaroglu`s parliamentary immunity be lifted so that they can investigate him for undermining public authority, Turkish media reports said.

Observers note that Kilicdaroglu has little to fear, as Parliament routinely refuses to lift immunity. Kilicdaroglu said in a defiant speech to his parliamentary group yesterday, addressing prosecutors: "So you want to settle scores with the head of the CHP? Go on, lift my immunity!" the Anatolia news agency reported.