Erdoğan’s senior adviser irked at being labeled ‘rookie’
AKP Ankara deputy Yalçın Akdoğan has been working with Erdoğan since 2002.President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unsurprisingly nominated Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu as his successor as prime minister on Aug. 21, but the move has failed to end an internal argument between the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) veteran executives and relative newcomers.
Just a day after Davutoğlu, the favorite of the younger generation within the party, was nominated, AKP Ankara deputy Yalçın Akdoğan, a senior adviser of Erdoğan who has been working with him since as early as 2002, weighed into the debate during an interview with the NTV news channel, taking umbrage at being called a “rookie.”
“I am 45 years old. I am neither a child nor a rookie,” Akdoğan said Aug. 22, underlining how he has been involved in the AKP’s journey for a long time and longer than many other AKP executives.
“I have stated that this process is a very sensitive one and the most important sensitive matter was protecting the party’s unity. Along this process, the party chair is changing, the prime minister is changing and we are holding a congress. I stated that it is not correct to get involved in these kinds of polemics,” Akdoğan said after he was reminded that he was at the center of criticism directed at the young generation within the party.
“I would look at Bülent Bey’s discourses in its entirety. But there were some discussions among some of our friends on Twitter. All of those are unfortunately being attributed to me,” Akdoğan said.
His remarks were an apparent reference to Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s remarks from Aug. 12 when the row between the younger and the more experienced members of the AKP over who would be the next party leader following Erdoğan’s departure picked up in the run-up to the party’s extraordinary convention scheduled for Aug. 27, a day before Gül hands over his office to Erdoğan.
At the time, also one of the leading founders of the party, Arınç openly warned what he called the party’s “rookies” to “calm down” after public reactions against outgoing President Abdullah Gül, who signaled his return to the party on Aug. 11.
Akdoğan notably highlighted that his statements had never reflected a personal stance but always reflected a stance designed by the party’s relevant bodies.
“When I express these stances, those who cannot criticize the others are criticizing me instead. I don’t look at matters on the basis of individuals. I defend the ideal of New Turkey. I stand next to Tayyip Erdoğan. And I stand against whoever stands against him [Erdoğan],” Akdoğan said.