Top ruling party official chides interior minister
Ruling party’s deputy chair indirectly chides a minister over his remarks. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Politics is a competition between interests, but such a contest should never spawn discourteous behavior, a senior ruling official has said, indirectly chastising Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin for describing opposition deputies “pathetic.”
“Whether the person in question is from the ruling or the opposition party, or whether he is a minister or a mayor, I have said [in the past] that politics is based on competition but political competition should never be turned into hostility,” Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chair Hüseyin Çelik said yesterday. “This competition should never be based on an understanding which ignores civility,” Çelik said, warning that an understanding of politics which ignores basic principles of decency would not be sustainable.
Çelik, however, declined to specifically address Şahin’s controversial description of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies.
Earlier this week, Şahin described 18 members of the BDP as “pathetic deputies, serving a cursed structure,” while accusing them of provoking police on July 14, the day of a banned democracy rally in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
“There is a cursed structure which doesn’t promise anything other than blood, grudges and death, and there are 18 pathetic deputies who tried to serve this structure in Diyarbakır on July 14,” Şahin said, in an apparent reference to purported links between the BDP and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Çelik’s comments yesterday echoed previous criticisms of Şahin, whose hard-line attitude and frequent gaffes have frequently raised eyebrows not only among the public but also within the AKP administration.
In May, Şahin described 34 villagers who perished in a botched military airstrike in December 2011 as “extras” in a ploy “orchestrated entirely” by the PKK. He suggested that the victims were smuggling goods supplied by the PKK.
At that time, Çelik categorically disavowed Şahin’s remarks on behalf of both the government and the AKP. “We don’t think that the minister’s approach and tone are humane. It’s obvious that his approach and tone do not belong to the [AKP] and the [AKP] government,” he said.