AKP’s Oğan should account for remarks before measures against him: Turkish gov’t spokesperson

AKP’s Oğan should account for remarks before measures against him: Turkish gov’t spokesperson

AKP’s Oğan should account for remarks before measures against him: Turkish gov’t spokesperson Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Mahir Ünal has said Ayhan Oğan, a former AKP Central Decision Making and Executive Council (MKYK) member, should give an account for his controversial remarks on “founding a new state” before the party adopts any measures against him. 

Ünal’s words came after Oğan raised eyebrows in Turkey by saying the government is “building a new state and its founding leader is President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.” 

“Oğan is a former MKYK member. I don’t know if he is still a party member or not. He says he ‘expressed his own thoughts.’ He said: ‘The tutelage system is being removed. The basic gains and principles of the republic were destroyed with the 1960 coup and a tutelage system was built. Today this structure of the state is being changed.’ His defense must be taken in order for a party to impose measures due to the expression of thoughts,” Ünal told private broadcaster NTV on Aug. 10. 

“If he says, ‘I support the demolition of the Turkish Republic,’ then you have take measures. But he actually says, ‘No one can demolish the state, the state is being rebuilt … based on the republic’s basic values and gains,” he added.  

Ünal’s remarks came after main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Bülent Tezcan urged the AKP to take disciplinary action against Oğan.

“The prime minister and the justice minister should carry out a disciplinary investigation into that party member,” Tezcan said on Aug. 9. 

Oğan had said on Aug. 3 that the “building of a new state” started after the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. 

“Whether you like it or not, this new state’s founding leader is Tayyip Erdoğan,” he said during a program on private broadcaster CNN Türk. 

“On July 15, all tutelage mechanisms within the state crumbled apart. The state system in which bureaucratic oligarchy was the hegemon came to an end,” he added. 

However, Ünal on Aug. 10 also said “the AKP is restructuring the state.” 

“The state is a tool like that anyway. In today’s world you constantly need to restructure the state in the face of rapidly changing needs. This applies to all states. The president, the prime minister and spokespeople have reacted against [Oğan’s] statement. The main opposition wanted to create a political discussion area with a debate about lifestyles based on this statement. I don’t think the debate should be extended,” he said. 

Oğan’s words had prompted outrage among government and opposition ranks, with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım saying that “what is said by TV programmers and commentators is not binding for our party.”

President Erdoğan also commented on the issue without specifically naming Oğan on Aug. 7, saying “we don’t have any other state than the state of the Turkish Republic.” 

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Aug. 8 accused the AKP of protecting Oğan. 

“You are [Oğan] talking about forming a new state. How can you stay in that party? I want the leader of that party to speak up. If you are defending him, defend him. If you are not, dismiss him. You don’t have any other choice,” he said. 

“[Oğan] is an immoral individual who does not respect his history. Do you know how this republic was founded? It was not founded within palaces and at rich tables. It was founded with pain, blood and tears,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

The CHP also announced on Aug. 4 that it had filed a complaint against Oğan over his remarks.