Turkish PM downplays Fidan’s return to post, rules out discord with president
DAILY NEWS PhotoNational Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan has the right to withdraw from being a nominee for parliament and can return to his former official post even if he runs in and loses an election, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, ruling out any discord between himself and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the matter.
“Every citizen of the Republic of Turkey, no matter which rank he holds and at which office he is in, can apply to become a nominee or to be a candidate for membership of parliament,” Davutoğlu said on March 10, citing Law No: 2839 of the Parliamentary Elections Law.
“This is a general principle. Hakan Fidan is a statesman, a civil servant who both I and our president appreciate, as he deservedly fulfills the duties that he assumes. Accordingly, just as we allowed him [to leave his post] when his nomination for candidacy in parliament came onto the agenda, when he wanted to withdraw this candidacy, in the same way, respecting his decision, I accepted his request on March 9 ... In the same way, we have returned him to his duty,” Davutoğlu added.
The re-appointment of the former MİT head to his post, hours after he abandoned plans to run for parliament, has been widely considered an apparent victory for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but Davutoğlu ruled out any discord between himself and Erdoğan.
“Approaches suggesting a difference of view or approach based on differing convictions between me and the president are groundless. We always consult each other,” he said.
Erdoğan had opposed Fidan’s plans, announced a month ago, to be a candidate for their ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Although required by the constitution to remain above party politics as head of state, Erdoğan said he did “not view Fidan’s candidacy positively,” but acknowledged it was a matter for Davutoğlu to decide.
Fidan, seen by some as a possible future foreign minister, gave no reason for the withdrawal of his candidacy.
“On the path of service to my nation and my people, I will always try to properly fulfill the duties entrusted to me,” he said in a brief statement released on March 9.
Two hours later, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters after a cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Erdoğan as the head of state, that Davutoğlu had already re-appointed Fidan to head the MİT.