Turkish Deputy PM: Chairing Cabinet meeting is president’s right
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç makes a statement after a Cabinet meeting on Dec. 29. AA PhotoFollowing a loud and clear announcement by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç appears to have toned down his rhetoric over the prospect of a Cabinet meeting being chaired by the former, as he said they find it “appropriate.”
The first Cabinet meeting of 2015 will be held on Jan. 5 and the second will be held on Jan. 12, while a Cabinet meeting scheduled for Jan. 19 will be chaired by President Erdoğan, said Arınç, who is also the spokesperson for the government, late on Dec. 29.
Arınç’s remarks came only hours after Erdoğan himself had already announced that he will chair the Cabinet meeting on Jan. 19, 2015, while underlining that the move was in line with the charter and within the knowledge of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
“I believe that a special importance will be attached to this meeting by the Council of Ministers, by public opinion and by the nation. No doubt, this meeting can be held,” Arınç said, as he spoke at a press conference after emerging from a Cabinet meeting.
“Indeed, we find holding a meeting of the Council of Ministers as chaired by Mr. President appropriate, in line with this provision of the Constitution,” Arınç said, referring to Article 104 of the Constitution, which outlines the duties and powers of the president and which is the basis for Erdoğan’s argument and the justification for his intention. Among the duties and powers relating to executive functions, the Constitution lists “presiding over the Council of Ministers or calling the Council of Ministers to meet under his or her chairmanship whenever he or she deems necessary.”
“We hope to get the use of this [meeting],” Arınç said, as he emphasized that Erdoğan and Davutoğlu have “made the decision together” to hold the Jan. 19 meeting under Erdoğan’s presidency.
As early as November, Erdoğan had openly declared his intention for chairing a Cabinet meeting in either late 2014 or early 2015.
In mid-December, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) İzmir deputy Binali Yıldırım said Erdoğan would chair a Cabinet meeting for the first time in his current capacity on Jan. 5, 2015, adding that such meetings presided over by Erdoğan would subsequently take place every two months.
Last week, both Davutoğlu and Arınç refuted the announcement by Yıldırım, a long-time comrade of Erdoğan.
“We can see that some of the remarks about the Jan. 5 date, first delivered by Mr. Prime Minister and then delivered by me, are becoming true. Calling the Council of Ministers for a meeting, asking for a meeting under his presidency, is of course a right for Mr. President. It is not right for any other person other than Mr. Prime Minister or himself [Erdoğan] to make such announcement or comment,” Arınç said on Dec. 29.