Enraged at Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu calling the July 15, 2016 coup attempt a “controlled coup” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday lambasted the opposition leader, calling him a “coward” for his behavior on the night of the failed coup, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“Some insistently say ‘controlled coup.’ They try to defame the glorious resistance of our nation. This is impudence, this is  immorality,” said Erdoğan, targeting Kılıçdaroğlu while speaking to thousands of people at the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge on the anniversary of the failed coup attempt.

“This nation is not trembling, is not cowardly like you. This nation has audacity. You do not have it. This is not a struggle of cowards,” Erdoğan said after describing how Kılıçdaroğlu left Atatürk Airport on the night of July 15.

Addressing Parliament during a special session to commemorate the first anniversary of the botched coup, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu questioned the failure of the army and intelligence chiefs to testify to the legislature’s Coup Investigation Commission.

Criticizing the written testimonies submitted by National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, the main opposition leader said it is not acceptable for them not to testify in person.

“On whose order were they prevented from testifying to the commission? On what grounds?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked during the session in which all party leaders addressed the General Assembly.

‘They are a disease’

Targeting people linked to the Gülen movement, which Erdoğan accuses of being behind failed coup, the president said: “We’re not just some nomadic tribe, we are a nation. They, however, are a disease, disease. That’s the difference.”

“First we will cut off traitors’ heads,” said Erdoğan while underlining that there were other powers behind the movement.

With regard to a coup suspect who appeared before a judge with a T-shirt reading “Hero” in English last week, Erdoğan said: “We recently spoke to Mr. Prime Minister. They should wear uniforms like they do at Guantanamo [prison] when going to court.”

Recalling that the court process is related to the coup attempt, Erdoğan said: “You can be sure that no traitors will be left unpunished. This nation, which carries their servants by the top of their head, will never hesitate to crush the heads of those who betray it.”

 

This article originally appeared in Turkish Minute on July 16.