Gov’t convenes key meetings amid row with President Erdoğan
AA PhotoThe cabinet under Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is holding its first meeting on March 23 after an unprecedented row was sparked between Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the Kurdish peace process.
The quarrel between Erdoğan and Arınç has dominated the country’s agenda since March 21, on the day the latter seriously criticized the head of the nation and natural leader of the ruling party for his intervention in the government’s affairs.
Before the cabinet meeting, Davutoğlu chaired another meeting on the Kurdish peace process after presidential urging and the statement of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which called on the terrorist organization to hold a general congress to debate disarmament.
Erdoğan had seriously criticized the government for its decision to establish a monitoring committee as part of the Kurdish peace process, although Arınç said the government thought the move was a positive one. However, the deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Mahir Ünal, said March 22 there was no final decision on the formation of such a committee.
The government is now pondering its moves after the president’s urgings and its decision will likely be voiced at a press conference after the cabinet meeting.
“I believe that my speeches yesterday [March 21] were very good-mannered and constructive. No one can feel displeased about this. We have a cabinet meeting tomorrow. If there is a new situation after this meeting you will ask, and I will answer with all my transparency,” Arınç, who is the spokesperson of the government, told reporters March 22.
Cabinet meeting at Çankaya
The cabinet convened for the first time at Çankaya Palace, the former presidential campus, as Erdoğan had decided to use the newly-erected palace in the Beştepe district of Ankara. Davutoğlu and his close aids will continue to use the Çankaya Palace and hold official meetings there, while ministers will not change their offices.