Deputy PM seeks to end internal rift within AKP

Deputy PM seeks to end internal rift within AKP

Deputy PM seeks to end internal rift within AKP

The air was chilly for deputy Prime Minister Arınç (R) during an event in Ankara, which was also attended by PM Erdoğan (C) and President Gül. DAILY NEWS photo

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has attempted to smooth over an internal party row between Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and the prime minister over co-ed housing, saying the matter was an attempt to sow discord within the government.

“Certain circles are seeking a storm in a teacup over this issue. There’s an attempt to sow discord within the AKP [Justice and Development Party]. But I have to say something to those who are ravished with delight over this issue; they cannot attain their desire to [sow discord within the AKP],” Bozdağ said in a televised interview on private Kanal 7 yesterday.

The rift between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Arınç stems from Erdoğan’s remarks on student houses. Confirming leaked information from a closed-door meeting of his party, Erdoğan said Nov. 5 that the government could intrude in even private houses to prevent university students from living in mixed-sex accommodation. But one day later, Arınç, who is also the government spokesman, said the government had no plans in place for students currently sharing mixed private houses.

The discrepancy prompted Arınç to call on Erdoğan to set the record straight during an interview in Belgrade on Nov. 8.

“I want to call out to our prime minister as a friend and a brother. There is an obvious contradiction between my statement and his speech as the prime minister. It is expected of him that he will clarify that contradiction, for yesterday, today and tomorrow,” Arınç said.

Expressing his discomfort a day later, Erdoğan said in response that he would speak about the issue with Arınç instead of making comments via press.

“If one of my friends or my government spokespeople has said something, this is not the place where I will comment on it, nor are you the ones with whom I will speak about this issue. We will deal with it between ourselves,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying.

Bozdağ tried to soothe the debate and said disagreement within the party was not tantamount to a conflict. “We are a large political movement. There can be differences in tone. I don’t think there’s a collision within the party, but somebody could differ in some issues. But this collision does not mean there’s a conflict,” Bozdağ said.