Unabated cold war between gov’t and ErdoIan now turns into hot battle

Tension that surfaced when President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan publicly criticized the government regarding steps it has taken as part of the ongoing Kurdish settlement process has turned into a full-scale battle within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) after an AK Party mayor attacked Deputy Prime Minister Bulent ArIn on Twitter for criticizing ErdoIan. In a tweet on Monday, Ankara Mayor Melih Gkek called on the government to

Tension that surfaced when President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan publicly criticized the government regarding steps it has taken as part of the ongoing Kurdish settlement process has turned into a full-scale battle within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) after an AK Party mayor attacked Deputy Prime Minister Banduumllent ArInandccedil on Twitter for criticizing ErdoIan.

In a tweet on Monday, Ankara Mayor Melih Gandoumlkandccedilek called on the government to dismiss ArInandccedil if he fails to resign. Some media outlets have alleged that ErdoIan asked Gandoumlkandccedilek to post his tweet, in which he also accused the deputy prime minister of trying to create unrest within the ruling party.

The Anka news agency reported on Monday that ErdoIan met with Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu on Saturday evening at ErdoIanand#39s private house in Istanbul.

Deputy PM ArInandccedil implied on Monday that Gandoumlkandccedilek said so to obtain the favor of ErdoIan as well as secure a candidateand#39s position for his son who submited to the AK Party his candidacy to run for deputy on the ruling party ticket in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

ArInandccedil described, at a press meeting late in the day following a Cabinet metting, Gandoumlkandccedilekand#39s comment over Twitter about himself as shameless. andquotandoumlkandccedilek is not as honorable a person as to demand my resignation,andquot he said.

He also said he had not previously informed Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu about the content of his statements he made in response to ErdoIan whom he described as a fellow with whom he fought for years for a common cause.

The meeting was on the day that in an unprecedented move, ArInandccedil challenged ErdoIanand#39s intervention in the governmentand#39s sphere of authority after a message by jailed Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK) leader Abdullah andOumlcalan was read out as part of the Kurdish settlement process.

According to the report, which the agency based on sources in the Office of the President, the meeting — which took place upon ErdoIanand#39s request — took an hour and a half.

At the end of 2012, the government launched a settlement process with andOumlcalan to resolve the countryand#39s decades-old Kurdish issue and terrorism problem However, ErdoIanand#39s recent public criticism of the government on the issue has revealed that differences of opinion have emerged between ErdoIan and the government about the steps that should be taken as part of the process.

In an unexpected move, ErdoIan stated on Friday that he was opposed to the establishment of a committee to monitor the peace talks between state officials and andOumlcalan, claiming that it would be of no use. ErdoIanand#39s statement came just days after Deputy Prime Minister YalandccedilIn AkdoIan announced that a committee consisting of five or six people would soon be established.

It was a rare public confrontation between the government and the president. Deputy Prime Minister ArInandccedil, who is also the spokesperson of the government, said on Saturday that statements from the president that appear to be critical of its actions undermine the government.

ArInandccedil also said that the establishment of the monitoring committee had been agreed upon as part of the settlement process and that the government was determined to go ahead with the idea

ArInandccedil added that he did not find it andquotappropriateandquot for ErdoIan to publicly express his views about government policies.

In remarks published on Sunday, ErdoIan stepped up his criticism of the governmentand#39s handling of the settlement process, saying he was also opposed to a 10-point declaration of reform proposals announced following talks between government officials and the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand#39 Democratic Party (HDP) on Feb.

28. andldquoI donand#39t find the meeting appropriate,andrdquo ErdoIan said of the Feb.

28 meeting, which was attended by HDP politicians and senior government officials including AkdoIan and then-Interior Minister Efkan Ala andldquoI personally donand#39t think it is appropriate for the deputy prime minister to pose for the cameras with a group that is currently in Parliament,andrdquo the president said.

It is possible that ErdoIanand#39s answer to ArInandccedil came through Mayor Gandoumlkandccedilek instead of Deputy Prime Minister AkdoIan because it was thought a response by AkdoIan would do more harm to the government.

Via his Twitter account, Gandoumlkandccedilek accused ArInandccedil of being the andldquoparallel stateand#39sandrdquo inside man within the ruling party, claiming that Prime Minister DavutoIlu was not informed about ArInandccediland#39s statements over the weekend.

andldquoI always wondered from where they would hit us.

I should confess that I didnand#39t expect one [a hit] like this. They wanted to target us from inside.

And they gave this hit with Banduumllent ArInandccedil. Everyone thought that he made the statement on behalf of the government.

More precisely, they wanted to create such a perception and they succeeded in doing so. However, I know the Cabinet ministers are highly disturbed about this issue,andrdquo Gandoumlkandccedilek said, adding that Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu is also saddened by ArInandccediland#39s remarks.

ArInandccedil — who unexpectedly cancelled an appearance on state television on Saturday night and a speaking engagement on Sunday afternoon at the Islamic World Seminars organized by the New World Foundation only hours after criticizing the Turkish president — continued his criticisms of ErdoIan on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters, he underlined that there is a government in charge of the country and that everyone should respect it.

Describing his criticism of ErdoIan as andldquowell-intentionedandrdquo and andldquoconstructive,andrdquo ArInandccedil said he would defend DavutoIlu against all threats because the party will shortly enter the election period and has to be strong. andldquoNobody has the right to cast a shadow over this,andrdquo he added.

Turkey will hold general elections on June 7

The AK Party government hastily crafted a theory about a so-called parallel state in the wake of a corruption scandal that broke on Dec. 17, 2013 in order to accuse the Ganduumllen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, of masterminding corruption investigations targeting key members of the government.

While the movement vehemently denies the accusations, the governmentand#39s theory has not been successful in acquiring support outside of Turkey. A proposal by an opposition party to investigate claims of the existence of a so-called andldquoparallel structureandrdquo was recently rejected by the ruling party in Parliament.

Gandoumlkandccedilek said ArInandccedil cannot act as spokesperson for the government any longer and called on the deputy prime minister to resign from his posts of government spokesperson and deputy prime minister

andldquoHowever, I think there is a weak possibility of his resignation due to the order from the parallel state saying you [ArInandccedil] should resist until the end. This decision falls to the government.

Banduumllent ArInandccedil should be dismissed,andrdquo Gandoumlkandccedilek wrote. andldquoWe donand#39t want you, Banduumllent ArInandccedil,andrdquo he also stated.

Maintaining that ArInandccediland#39s daughter and son-in-law are part of the andldquoparallel state,andrdquo Gandoumlkandccedilek argued that ArInandccedil could not resist the pressure from his son-in-law and daughter

andldquoAn old friend of mine who is still debating with his conscience whether to remain in the parallel state or not told me the issue was this: Mr Banduumllent was the latest trump [card] of Fethullah [Ganduumllen] Hoca [religious teacher]..

There is no link between ArInandccediland#39s outburst and the government. They only waited for the time and topic.

And Banduumllent ArInandccedil thinks that he makes the statement at the right time. ArInandccediland#39s outburst came by the order of the parallel structure,andrdquo Gandoumlkandccedilek claimed in his message.

Nurettin AktaI, a former ruling party deputy, has called on Gandoumlkandccedilek to know his place, recalling that ArInandccedil has been serving for 40 years in political parties in ideological alignment with the ruling party.

Noting that some ruling party figures have gotten into the habit of putting the blame on the Ganduumllen movement for all sorts of failures following the graft probes, AktaI told Todayand#39s Zaman: andldquoThis is a move to survive [in politics] by creating [imaginary] enemies.

Can ArInandccedil, who remained silent when the movement was exposed to huge attacks [by the government], be said to be acting under the movementand#39s instructions when he defends the existence of the government?andrdquo

According to AktaI, the reason for the governmentand#39s attitude is the relatively sharp drop in support for the ruling party, as revealed by various public surveys recently.

andldquoThe AK Party has been rapidly losing voter support.

They want to put the blame for a failure in the elections on ArInandccedil,andrdquo he said.

According to Mehmet BekaroIlu, deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican Peopleand#39s Party (CHP), as the rift between the government and ErdoIan widens, the unlawful practices of the government can be expected to increase.

BekaroIlu said on Monday that he hopes the public will respond as necessary to the AK Party and ErdoIanand#39s unlawful practices.


SOURCE: Today’s Zaman