Opposition MHP leader accuses PM Erdogan of betraying President Gul

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Develt Bahceli has maintained that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan betrayed President Abdullah Gul to eliminate President as a potential rival in the upcoming presidential elections.

“In an underhanded way, he [Erdogan] started, through the government media, the hitman-like mouthpieces and government media columnists, to hurt the feelings of and to smear Mr. Gul, one he calls ‘brother,’ who was his close companion and with whom he established a [political] party,” Bahceli said at the party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.

During his speech, much of which the MHP leader dedicated to the recent debate about the upcoming presidential election, Bahceli said: “Gul was left out in the cold, deceived and cheated by a friend. For the sake of [his] ambition [to become president], the prime minister displayed the character of Brutus, a major part of his personality.”

The MHP leader, who claimed that Erdogan was trying to eliminate all possibilities that might block his path to the presidency in the way that he desires, said anyone involved in corruption should not think of stepping into the office of president.

“It is not possible to step into Cankaya [presidential palace] with a heart darkened by fitna [a wish to sow discord among people]. Someone who calls Mustafa Kemal [founder of the Turkish Republic] a boozer cannot possibly be worthy, though it is required that he be worthy, of the inheritance of the Ghazi [Mustafa Kemal],” Bahceli said.

In due course, the MHP will come up with a respectable and deserving candidate not tainted by corruption for the presidential election to be held in August, Bahceli said.

The MHP leader also slammed government media media outlets for an interview with Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, whom Bahceli called an “embezzler” and an “Iranian fraud.”

Bahceli accused some media outlets of becoming “government media circuses” for interviewing Zarrab, the Iranian businessman who was detained in the Dec. 17 corruption probe and later released pending trial. The MHP leader said, “It is a disaster to present this Iranian man to our nation.”

“I closed 15 percent of the current account deficit [CAD],” Zarrab said in his serial interviews in pro-government media outlets Sabah daily and the A Haber news channel. He said he contributed $10 billion toward the $65 billion deficit of the last year by exporting gold to Iran. Experts say that gold trade to Iran at such a hefty annual amount that would earn $10 billion cannot be seen in either Iran’s own foreign trade figures or in the numbers released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat). Experts also ask who would sell so much gold to Iran through registered normal trade when the country is levying a 50 percent tax on imported gold.

Bahceli criticized Zarrab’s claims and sarcastically said: “To us, a person who closes 15 percent of the CAD should be made the head of the central bank or a ministry by the prime minister. A statue of him should be erected in front of the AK Party buildings and his likeness should be printed on banknotes.”