Turkey's Deputy PM, Ankara Mayor to be disciplined over row, PM Davutoğlu vows
AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu criticized both Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek over the harsh accusations both have hurled at each other, vowing to take disciplinary action against those who damage the credibility of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), particularly on the eve of parliamentary elections.
Davutoğlu appeared before the media on the fifth day of tension between his government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the Kurdish peace process and tried to downplay the rift, stressing that “those looking for governance chaos” will never be successful.
“We will take necessary disciplinary action against whoever engages in a polemic that could tarnish the credibility of our party in the eyes of the people, particularly at such a crucial moment before the elections. No one is exempt from this. I put it clearly,” he told reporters in Konya on March 24.
Davutoğlu criticized statements from both Arınç and Gökçek that have caused an earthquake in the AKP, which is widely perceived to be generally free of such in-house discord.
The two figures engaged in a harsh war of words on March 23 amid tension between President Erdoğan and Davutoğlu’s government. Arınç had publicly criticized President Erdoğan over his interventions into the government-led Kurdish peace process by underlining that conducting the talks was the responsibility of the government.
Although Erdoğan and Arınç seemed to be trying to put a lid on the tension, Gökçek launched into an unexpected and strongly worded Twitter blitzkrieg, accusing Arınç of being linked to the “parallel structure” of sympathizers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, the government’s ally-turned-nemesis.
Arınç responded in kind on the evening of March 23, claiming that the Ankara mayor had suspicious relations with the “parallel structure” and accusing him of “selling Ankara” to the Gülen movement “plot by plot.” The deputy prime minister also threatened to reveal Gökçek’s wrongdoings after the June 7 elections.
Gökçek’s response to Arınç came via Twitter late March 23, in which he declared that he would take the deputy prime minister to court over his accusations.
Meanwhile, Arınç said on March 24 that the prime minister was right in his criticism, but added that he could not stop himself from making comments about issues that impact his private life. “If he [Gökçek] seeks legal actions, questions would be asked to me in the court and I am not sure who would be more disadvantaged,” Arınç said.
‘Both statements wrong’
Davutoğlu, who had been criticized for keeping quiet since the rift erupted on March 20, stressed that both statements were wrong in terms of the AKP’s internal rules and political culture, underlining that he will not allow anybody in the party to damage the party’s credibility.
The prime minister said he talked about the issue with Arınç on March 23 and will meet with Gökçek on March 24, in order to urge both men to calm the tension.
Davutoğlu meets Erdoğan for second time
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu also said he had paid a family visit to President Erdoğan, during which the two discussed all recent developments.
“I have discussed all of these issues in detail with our president. We will take all necessary steps when necessary, after further consultations,” he said, refuting claims of a disagreement with the president.
The prime minister vowed that those who expected “governance chaos” in Turkey over a fabricated disagreement between the president and the government will be disappointed. “We will overcome all troubled processes, as we have done in the past,” he said.
Erdoğan has openly criticized the government for announcing the establishment of a monitoring committee as part of the Kurdish peace process and urged it not to take steps before seeing concrete steps from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Speaking on March 24, Davutoğlu did not outline a final decision on whether the monitoring committee will be formed or will be postponed. “We have no disagreement on the fact that the peace process is a strategic objective. There can always be different views about the steps to be taken as part of it and these views can always be discussed,” he said.
“Our commitment to this process has not changed,” he added.