Deputy PM addresses secular Turks over Greek PM’s inauguration ceremony
ANKARA – Doğan News Agency
AA PhotoReferring to newly elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ swearing in ceremony on Jan. 26, in which he declined to be sworn in by a priest, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has aimed barbs at those Turks who “constantly talk about secularism.”
“[Seeing the ceremony] I realized that Greece is a non-secular country. I don’t know if those in Turkey who talk about secularism on every occasion, constantly saying ‘thank God there is secularism,’ know this. The new prime minister, who said he is an atheist and did not want a ceremony conducted with a priest, instead started his duties with a simple meeting. The world did not fall apart,” said Arınç during the press briefing following the weekly cabinet meeting on Jan. 26.
Stating that he found this move by the newly elected Tsipras as “positive regarding the implementation of democracy,” Arınç said democracy can advance by moving beyond "making such issues into a problem."
Meanwhile, touching on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Jan. 22 vow in Ethiopia to replace foreign schools operated by supporters of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based ally-turned-foe, with state-funded schools, Arınç said the cabinet was conducting “detailed work” on how to realize this reform.
“Continuing the education facilities of these schools by taking over or purchasing the firms [that operate them] is an option,” he said, adding that they would conduct an in-depth analysis before next week’s cabinet meeting.