TODAY’S – Deputy PM joins gov’t row with boss club

Deputy PM joins gov’t row with boss clubDeputy Prime Minister Numan KurtulmuI has said that if the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmenand#39s Association (TuSIAD) does not engage with President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan as an interlocutor, the president will do the same with TuSIAD, referring to remarks made by TuSIAD Chairman Haluk Diner during a recent interview.In response to a question about relations between ErdoIan and TuSIAD during an interview with the Hurriyet daily on Monday, Diner stated that TuSIAD does not have any problems with the president, and that the prime minister and ministers whose business is related to the organizationand#39s efforts are its interlocutors, not the president.

KurtulmuI stated following an event in Istanbul on Thursday that Dinerand#39s statement was andldquounfortunate and meaningless.andrdquo He further stated: andldquoI donand#39t know for what reasons he said that, but no matter why, the statement he made [regarding ErdoIan] was so meaningless that it does not serve any purpose.

andrdquoNoting that the president is responsible for the administration of the whole state, KurtulmuI asserted that it is clear that the president is responsible for taking the necessary precautions to facilitate the activities of foundations and associations in Turkey. andldquoWe do not understand this.

The sentence andlsquoThe president is not our interlocutorand#39 is meaningless and even an absurd sentence that serves no purpose, does not protect the interests of TuSIAD and does not contribute to the democratic system within Turkey. If TuSIAD intended to say it does not recognize the president, sorry, but our president will not recognize TuSIAD either I hope Mr Diner did not intend to say this,andrdquo KurtulmuI stated.

ErdoIan also showed a harsh reaction to Dinerand#39s remarks by announcing that he would no longer attend TuSIAD meetings. andldquoNow that we [the presidentand#39s office] are not their interlocutors, we will not attend their meetings,andrdquo ErdoIan said during a meeting with the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Turk-II) on Tuesday.

He also said he will boycott the next plenary session of TuSIAD, which is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2015.

ErdoIan has lashed out at TuSIAD on several occasions, each time vowing to avoid the groupand#39s events. After each incident, ErdoIan has backpedaled and attended a TuSIAD meeting, where he has continued to stoke tensions.

TuSIAD members have deflected criticisms from ErdoIan, calling on the president to focus on solving economic problems.Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu has also said he will not attend TuSIAD meetings, government sources told the state-run Anadolu news agency on Wednesday.

ErdoIanand#39s relations with TuSIAD — known as for representing Turkeyand#39s secular elite, a segment of society that generally opposes the ruling party — have been sour for some time they have become increasingly tense since the Gezi protests. In January, following then-Chairman Muharrem YIlmazand#39s remarks on the importance of the rule of law for foreign investors during a speech at a TuSIAD general assembly, ErdoIan called YIlmaz and TuSIAD andldquotraitors,andrdquo which led to a further deterioration of relations.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman