Deputy PM delivers open-ended remarks mum on previous resignation plan, possible Gül return
Cihan PhotoDeputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç was silent about claims that former President Abdullah Gül had convinced him not to resign at the time of a rift between then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over mixed-gender student housing.
“Let me read the book first and then you should ask me this during a private meeting. Let me answer then,” Arınç said, when asked about accuracy of the claim in a new book by Ahmet Sever, who served as an advisor to Gül for 12 years.
In his book, entitled “Abdullah Gül ile 12 Yıl” (12 Years with Abdullah Gül), Sever said Gül had, at the time, persuaded Arınç not to resign.
Sever’s claims refer to the November 2013 very public rift between Arınç and Erdoğan. The disagreement came after Erdoğan announced that measures would be taken to prevent co-ed housing, even though Arınç said no such plan was under consideration.
Arınç, one of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s most important figures along with Erdoğan and Gül, then expressed publicly his displeasure with Erdoğan’s stance.
Arınç made a public appeal to Erdoğan to clarify why the latter had made a contradictory statement to Arınç’s public remarks regarding the government’s plans to prevent university students from living in mixed-sex accommodations. Arınç said his appeal had been “met” by Erdoğan and thus the rift was privately settled.
According to Sever, Arınç did not have any intention to back down after he made up his mind to resign.
“Arınç had been on the brink of resignation during the Gezi incidents too,” Sever said in his book, referring to the Gezi protests of June 2013, when a peaceful sit-in to protest plans to redevelop one of the remaining green areas in the heart of Istanbul, Gezi Park, escalated into nationwide protests with over two million on the streets for nearly a month.
Shortly after Arınç made his decision, then-Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik asked for an urgent appointment with Gül and requested him to step in the crisis, Sever said.
“Gül called Arınç on telephone and following a lengthy conversation … he convinced him out of his decision,” Sever said.
Arınç has also made public that he met with Gül recently. When asked whether former President Gül had any intention to return to politics, Arınç responded, “Your question is a private one. It is not on our agenda
today. It doesn’t have a direct connection with our government.”
However, Arınç added, “There is nothing strange about it,” while speaking at a press conference following a cabinet meeting.