Erdoğan, gov’t differ on Kurdish peace bid

Erdoğan, gov’t differ on Kurdish peace bid

Erdoğan, gov’t differ on Kurdish peace bid

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A senior government official has reiterated his criticism towards President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s latest intervention into the government-led Kurdish peace process, stating that even though the ruling party loved the president, it should not be forgotten that there was a government in the country.

“We love our president, we know his power and are also aware of the services he will give but please do not forget that there is a government in this country,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç on March 22.

Arınç said as a minister of the government he would defend Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu against threats which could wear him out as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was preparing for the June 7 general elections, adding the nation would want a strong government and decision mechanism before the elections.

“Primarily, nobody has the right to call this in question. We should not be in such actions that would play into the hands of the opposition parties,” said Arınç.

Stating Erdoğan’s choices and the issues he sent signals about was very important for them, Arınç added the government had a responsibility towards the parliament and the nation.

“If it is the government which rules the country then the government should surely be very strong in its decisions and operations, and this strength needs to be known by the public,” said Arınç.

This is Arınç’s second criticism towards Erdoğan, who said on March 20 he did not approve the formation of a monitoring committee as part of the Kurdish peace process, although the government and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had reached a deal on it.

Erdoğan said he read the news in the newspapers and expressed his obvious opposition to the development, although it marks an important milestone in running the peace process.

Upon Erdoğan’s remarks, Arınç said on March 21 that Erdoğan’s words were emotional and personal.
“His statements that ‘I didn’t like it’ or ‘I don’t approve this and that’ are his emotional remarks. The responsibility belongs to the government and we can regard his statements as his personal views,” Arınç told reporters March 21.

Arınç’s statement constituted the first public and straight criticism against the president by the government, signaling a disagreement between Erdoğan and Davutoğlu.

Arınç made this statement on the very day Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), publicized a fresh call on the PKK to hold a congress as soon as possible to discuss the disarmament of the organization.

Although Arınç expressed his contentment with Öcalan’s statement, he asked “How would this statement be if [the president’s] statement came a day ago?”

“Our government regards this step as an appropriate one. We also have a road map on who’s going to do what throughout the process. It’s the government that is running the country and the responsibility belongs to the government,” Arınç stressed, dismissing Erdoğan’s claims that he was left uninformed of the developments.

“It’s impossible to think that our president is unaware of the developments and of our steps. He knows everything very well. These issues are discussed in-detail at the National Security Council meetings as well as weekly meetings with our prime minister,” he said.

Meanwhile, Arınç cancelled two of his scheduled plans, late on March 21 and noon on March 22.