Ankara mayor apologizes to PM Erdoğan for ‘lack of support’

Ankara mayor apologizes to PM Erdoğan for ‘lack of support’

ANKARA - Reuters
Ankara mayor apologizes to PM Erdoğan for ‘lack of support’ Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek has apologized to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for “leaving him alone” in the aftermath of the corruption probe that opened on Dec. 17, speaking in at an interview with daily Sabah on April 14.

“Our prime minister was left alone. It is possible that he might be resentful. I failed to support him at the time and I apologize to him,” Gökçek said, after being asked whether he believed Erdoğan “lacked support” from his party members in the aftermath of the investigation.

The Ankara mayor said he had close ties with the movement of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen in the past five years, until the movement became involved in a bitter rift with the government late last year. He said members of the movement had made demands from time to time, mostly for land for their schools and dormitories, adding that they had made such demands by entering tenders in legal ways.

Gökçek also claimed that the “parallel structure,” a term used by Erdoğan to label members of the Gülen movement inside the state’s top positions such as the judiciary and the police, were more dangerous than the military’s previous coup attempts.

The Turkish government and the Gülen movement have been involved in a fierce rift since late last year, when Erdoğan declared his intention to close down private exam preparation schools, “dershanes,” many of which are run by figures aligned with the Gülen movement. The rift became almost irreversible after Dec. 17, 2013, when the corruption and graft probe opened, targeting high-profile figures close to the government. Erdoğan has repeatedly accused the Gülen movement of orchestrating the probe and plotting against the government.