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ANKARA WHISPERS > Is Turkish Interior Minister’s position in danger?

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İdris Naim Şahin’s (C) recent behavior has created discontent among the AKP.

İdris Naim Şahin’s (C) recent behavior has created discontent among the AKP.

Göksel Bozkurt Göksel Bozkurt goksel.bozkurt@hurriyet.com.tr

Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin’s recent proclamations have created uneasiness not only with the public, but also within his party. Is Minister Şahin’s position in danger? Everyone in Ankara is curious about the answer to this question.

Let’s remember the two recent incidents. After inspecting the reservoir in Erzurum, where five Turkey Electricity Distribution Company (TEDAŞ) workers lost their lives, Minister Şahin visited the Pasinler district. In Pasinler a citizen told Şahin he was happy to see him, to which Şahin responded: “How can I know you are happy? Make a summersault or do a dance, so that I can see.” In the second incident, while he was pleading a motion of censure against himself in the parliament, Şahin made statements which resulted in Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies to accuse him of tapping their phones and thus triggering harsh criticism.

Undoubtedly, Şahin’s behavior has created discontent among the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Will his proclamations push him outside the cabinet?

It’s good to remember Minister Şahin’s past. He and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were friends in high school at Fatih İmam Hatip Vocational High School and spent many days in their youth together. When Erdoğan was elected mayor of Istanbul he made Şahin his secretary general without hesitation. When Erdoğan was jailed because of a poem he cited, Şahin did not desert him; he was as close to him as call to him “chief.”

When Erdoğan formed AKP in 2001 Şahin was right next to him. Erdoğan trusted him to the “most important seat” and made him the secretary general of the party. He was his perfect “confidant” both in the municipality and in the party.

 Erdoğan transferred him from that important seat, which he occupied for nine years, to another important seat — the Interior Ministry. There were many reasons to replace former Interior Minister Beşir Atalay, who was the architect of the Kurdish initiative, with Şahin, who is known for his “nationalist” stance. When Erdoğan shifted to “nationalist-security” policies in the Kurdish issue after the elections, he wanted to have a “reliable confidant” especially in that important seat considering the possible crises which might erupt within the policy.

It looks as if Prime Minister Erdoğan will not instantly sacrifice Minister Şahin, a person who has been an important seatmate to him. As a person who holds “loyalty” to be a significant quality it is very difficult for Erdoğan to remove Şahin in one swoop because he is a person who has been with him through good times and bad. It is also well known that Erdoğan does not remove ministers based on newspaper headlines. However, the mood of whispers heard in corridors in regards to Şahin’s future sound a bit different.

Şahin may lose that important seat of his, not today, but in the next term. AKP will hold a congress in the fall if it is not brought forward to the summer. And it is expected that a serious change will occur in the front desk.

Erdoğan had taken old friends off their seats before. Just like Minister Şahin, his close friend since the days of the imam hatip high school, Mehmet Ali Şahin was an ordinary deputy after serving as deputy prime minister and Speaker of Parliament.

This is a fact: Erdoğan does not like to change staff frequently. Those names who he has held in the cabinet for more than 10 years are a proof of that. However, it is also known that he has been noting the developments both during his illness and after it. It is being whispered that he may leave those names out of the cabinet, those who have dragged AKP into a “controversial” image.

The change may not be limited to the cabinet only, that he will renew the party administration and the parliament organization and that there might be shifts there. If what is being whispered in the corridors becomes a reality, then Erdoğan, with the front desk he will chose at the AKP congress and after it, will be able to determine the structure after he leaves the party.

AKP CANNOT RUN AWAY FROM THE TABLE THIS TIME

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

Speaker of Parliament Cemil Çiçek has started a new initiative to free the imprisoned deputies. It was clear from the first meeting that it was not easy to reach a consensus on the necessary constitutional amendment, because opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) expresses “nationalist feelings” and insists that the Article 14 “should not be touched.” On the other hand, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) consistently expresses its desire that article 14 be reformed. In these circumstances, insisting on a constitutional amendment might break the consensus. Çiçek is aware of this, and because of that the main opposition party Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) formula of an amendment in the law might emerge as an option. If the opposition reaches an agreement on that proposal, then this time the AKP may not be able to run away from the table.

INCREASED WATCH OVER THE MILITARY

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

Parliament has increased its watch over the military in an unprecedented way over the course of this term. A commission monitoring “discrimination and mobbing” in military schools has carried out an investigation into the Military Academy. Another sub commission is inspecting the Armed Forces Pension Fund (OYAK), while the Coup Research Commission is preparing to hear from retired and active officers. Allegations of beatings in the army are also on the agenda of the Human Rights Commission. According to whispers, Parliament is set to increase its monitoring of the military even more in the months to come.

April/23/2012

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