AKP MP’s proposal to grant Erdoğan ‘Gazi’ title stirs controversy

AKP MP’s proposal to grant Erdoğan ‘Gazi’ title stirs controversy

AKP MP’s proposal to grant Erdoğan ‘Gazi’ title stirs controversy

A bill prepared by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Metin Külünk that proposes giving President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the honorary title of “Gazi” (war veteran) has stirred fresh debate in Turkish politics.

In a draft bill that is yet to come to parliament, Külünk argued that Erdoğan should be honored with the title “Gazi” for his “heroic stance against the threats the country has faced over past few years.”

Both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party have slammed the move, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has said “it will look into the proposal when it is submitted to parliament.”

“[Külünk’s proposal] represents a new low in Turkish politics … It is yet another example of ‘political bootlicking,’” said CHP Deputy Group Chair Engin Altay on Jan. 23.

MHP Group Deputy Chairman Erkan Akçay said his party will look into a bill when it is submitted to parliament.

“I have not seen the bill and I do not have any information about its content,” Akçay told reporters at a press briefing at parliament on Jan. 24.

İYİ Party General Secretary Aytun Çıray slammed the proposal as “devaluing” the title of “Gazi.”

“If you award this title to those who did not fight any battles, then you devalue this title,” Çıray said on Jan. 24.

In the draft bill, Külünk said granting Erdoğan this title will “show the world Turkey’s resolve.”

“Our president [Erdoğan], who devotes his life to our nation’s independence, has become the target of many enemies, especially after his ‘one minute’ stance in Davos,” he said in the proposed legislation, referring to Erdoğan’s walk-out during a panel at Davos with Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2009.

“Erdoğan has fought many battles on many fronts, including the [2013 anti-government] Gezi protests, the Dec. 17-25 coup attempt [corruption probes], the investigation targeting the head of the National Intelligence Organization [MİT], and the operation against the MİT trucks [accused of clandestinely sending weapons to Syria],” Külünk added.

He has submitted the bill to the office of the AKP parliamentary group chair for approval.