Turkey’s former President Gül responds to criticism from AKP over controversial decree law

Turkey’s former President Gül responds to criticism from AKP over controversial decree law

ANKARA
Turkey’s former President Gül responds to criticism from AKP over controversial decree law

Former President Abdullah Gül responded to criticism from within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) against his views on a controversial recent state of emergency decree law, saying it is his duty to comment on important matters.

“I am a president who has spent his entire life serving the government and society. Of course it is my duty to share my vision and ideas about important matters,” Gül told reporters after Friday prayers on Dec. 29.

“I believe it is nonsense to seek ulterior motives here,” he added.

Gül had said he favored a revision of the phrasing of a contentious decree law granting immunity to civilians “who take part in suppressing coup attempts” and “combating terror” in order to avoid possible problems stemming from the ambiguity of the law’s content.

“The ambiguity that violates legal parlance in emergency decree no. 696 is worrying for a constitutional state,” Gül had stated in a Twitter post on Dec. 25.

Speaking to the reporters traveling with him from Chad to Tunisia on Dec. 28, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded to Gül’s criticism over the state of emergency decree, which has also been blasted by opposition groups.

“It’s saddening that our former president has unfortunately mentioned ambiguity. On what grounds are you talking about ambiguity? Which article are you referring to? This is saddening,” Erdoğan said.

He denied there was any uncertainty in the content of the decree law and vowed that the government is committed to implementing it.

“Necessary interventions can be made in the future if this decree gets misinterpreted, as suggested. In such a case, parliament will do whatever is necessary,” Erdoğan added.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also said on Dec. 27 that the decree law will not be changed, while insisting that it will only apply to those who took part in opposing the military coup attempt on July 15 and 16 in 2016.

“There will be no amendments. There is no problem with its wording,” Yıldırım told reporters.

Article Number 121 of decree number 696 covers “those who have acted within the framework of defeating the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and terrorist actions that followed it in its aftermath, regardless of whether they have an official title or they are fulfilling an official duty.”

Opposition groups criticized the article’s reference to “subsequent events” as vaguely worded, saying it could be open to interpretations that provoked social chaos and violence.

Turkey, Abdullah Gül, AKP