Turkish opposition leader says he has been arrested on political espionage

Turkish opposition leader says he has been arrested on political espionage

ANKARA, Nov 26, Reuters -- Metin Gurcan, a founder of the Turkish opposition Democracy and Progress Party DEVA, said on Friday he had been arrested over political espionage and police raided his house.

Gurcan, a retired member of the Turkish Armed Forces, helped set up the Deva Party with Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister and minister under President Tayyip Erdogan Erdogan. Gurcan is also a prominent defence analyst.

I am being held on charges of political espionage. The police are in the house. I am shocked. Gurcan said on Twitter that he wanted your help, but he didn't elaborate.

Turkish police were not immediately available for comment.

Babacan said his party backs Gurcan and his lawyers would provide him with support until the end, adding that they were seeking more details.

If the move today is political in nature, or if the goal is to mask the grave economic conditions in the country, I would like to state that such attempts will never deter the Deva team, he said, in reference to a historic slide in the lira this week.

The lira has fallen to all-time lows and has lost 25% of its value since the beginning of last week due to concerns about aggressive interest rate cuts backed by Erdogan. The support of Deva, founded in March 2020, is around 2%, while support for Erdogan and his AK Party are at multi-year lows. Economic mismanagement is one of the factors that Turks have cited.

Deva and other opposition parties have called for urgent elections amid the lira meltdown, but the government has said presidential and general elections will be held as planned in June 2023.