Turkey military defends top general's attendance at president's daughter's marriage
ISTANBUL - Agence France-PresseTurkey's army on May 16 vehemently defended the attendance of its top general at the wedding of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's younger daughter, after a storm of criticism in the opposition press and on social media.
General Hulusi Akar was one of several witnesses at the marriage on May 14 of Sümeyye Erdoğan to defence industrialist Selçuk Bayraktar, whose family company manufactures military drones.
Some commentators bitterly criticised the chief of the general staff's presence, which came a day after eight soldiers were killed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants.
In a highly unusual statement on the general's personal schedule, the army said he had taken part in the wedding in Istanbul "within the framework of state protocol", after earlier attending funeral ceremonies for the dead soldiers in Ankara.
It said some of the coverage of the wedding had been "far from humane and conscientious" and warned against the use of "divisive language" in the fight against the militants.
Other witnesses at the marriage included outgoing Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former president Abdullah Gül, both of whom have been rumoured to be at odds with Erdoğan.
Foreign leaders including Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and former Lebanese premier Saad Hariri were also in attendance.