Turkey's former intel chief withdraws decision to run for parliament, returns to MİT
AFP PhotoAfter President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s strong opposition to his decision to quit the strategic position, Turkey’s former intelligence chief Hakan Fidan has withdrawn his application to the ruling party to run for parliament and returns the office he quitted 30 days ago.
Fidan’s decision was announced to the public through the Anadolu Agency on March 9 during a second cabinet meeting chaired by Erdoğan.
“As of today, I have withdrawn my application for the parliamentary elections, as I deem necessary. I will be exerting all efforts in order to properly fulfill all duties consigned to me in the way of serving to my country and to my people. On this occasion, I want to express my gratitude and my respects to our president, our prime minister and our people for their support and trust,” Fidan said in a statement to Anadolu Agency.
Soon after the report, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç announced that Fidan will return to lead National Intelligence Agency (MİT). "Mr. Prime Minister has appointed Fidan as the undersecretary of MİT, again. He will soon start to perform his duty," Arınç told journalists following the cabinet meeting.
Meeting in Saudi Arabia
Fidan resigned from MİT on Feb. 10 to enter active politics for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) despite Erdoğan’s opposition. Erdoğan publicly criticized Fidan for quitting his job after serving years as his right-hand man and “secret-keeper.”
There were reports that Erdoğan and Fidan met in Saudi Arabia last week where the former MİT chief tried to explain the reasons for his resignation. However, Erdoğan continued his criticisms against his move, saying: “We are governing a state. I have already expressed my opinion about that issue. There is of course a disappointment if a candidacy is in question even though we have expressed our opinions.”
Erdoğan hosted his second cabinet meeting as head of state at the newly built presidential palace.
Land Forces Commander Gen. Hulusi Akar and Turkish Air Force Commander Gen. Akın Öztürk were also present during the cabinet meeting as unexpected names.
Erdoğan headed a cabinet meeting on Jan. 19, an unusually long one which lasted eight hours, before a tête-à-tête between himself and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
New faces in cabinet meeting
Kenan İpek, who replaced Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ because the latter resigned from his post to run in the polls; Sebahattin Öztürk, who was assigned in place of Interior Minister Efkan Ala after he resigned for the polls, and Feridun Bilgin, who replaced Transportation Minister Lütfi Elvan after the latter also resigned for the elections, were present in the cabinet meeting for the first time.
The unexpected participations of Akar and Öztürk might be related to recent incidents. On March 5, two Turkish pilots were killed after their jet crashed in the Central Anatolian province of Konya during a training flight from the Eskişehir Airbase. Akar was among the officials who determined the details of a military operation on Feb. 20 on the evacuation of military personnel protecting the Tomb of Süleyman Şah in northern Syria, as well as the artifacts in the mausoleum.
The Kurdish peace process was also expected to be on the agenda of the cabinet meeting.