Lawmakers' Twitter frenzy angers Deputy PM Arınç

Lawmakers' Twitter frenzy angers Deputy PM Arınç

Lawmakers Twitter frenzy angers Deputy PM Arınç

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç held a meeting with Paliament reporters in Ankara, Jan. 3, during which he commented on a number of issues, including the criminal complaint filed by the General Staff on coup cases. AA photo

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç failed to shy away from voicing his discontent over the social media activism of some fellow ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members on Jan. 3, warning that superficial messages by people with titles were prone to speculation.

“A fellow writes a column and says ‘plot’ in it, another one says ‘There is a 2,000-person-list,’” Arınç said when asked about a column from top prime ministerial adviser Yalçın Akdoğan in which he spoke of a “plot.”

While responding to the Akdoğan case, he also referred to AKP deputy Burhan Kuzu’s tweet on Jan. 1 that said a list of 2,000 names allegedly involved in an organization within the state had been submitted to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Kuzu, however, said on Jan. 2 via Twitter that his tweets about the list of 2,000 people were not his remarks but were from a report from daily Akşam.

“We are not relishing writing things that might offend anyone or become trending topics. But for some it has become such a disease, they click, click, click and only occupy themselves with that all day. They should abandon this, especially the ministers,” Arınç, also the spokesperson for the Cabinet, said during a meeting with journalists who have been following the Cabinet meetings.

Arınç said many advisers of politicians were also very active on Twitter. Describing the use of Twitter by certain deputies, Arınç said: “[They say] ‘I sent that many tweets, it received so many retweets,’ [what nonsense]. Then they say they shared a headline in a newspaper. So, don’t share it.”

The report relayed by Kuzu was then denied by Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay on Jan. 2.
As for the case involving Akdoğan, his Dec. 24, 2013, column eventually prompted Turkey’s General Staff to file a criminal complaint with the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office, asking for an investigation of an alleged “plot” against the military leading to the conviction of numerous high-ranking members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon coup-plot cases.
Because of the use of the word “plot,” the General Staff has been worried that there might be a mistake in rulings made about TSK members, Arınç said. 

Nobody can call such concern “unfair” while the criminal complaint is compatible with that concern, Arınç said, while also voicing worry that the word “plot” could be spread out and misused on different occasions.

“I don’t personally have any information at all on what the plot is, who set the plot and against whom the plot was set,” Arınç said.

No amnesty should be expected

No amnesty should be expected on coup cases despite the criminal complaint filed by General Staff, Arınç said.

“No one should expect a general amnesty,” Arınç said, responding to questions on the government’s position about the military’s move.

“Amnesty is a very dangerous word. If a member of the government or the Parliament speaks about it, a great expectation may arise. Think about those people who are jailed, they will go to bed, then wake up thinking about the amnesty. As the government, we don’t have such thinking,” he said. 

Arınç said he did not have much knowledge about the content of the complaint filed by the General Staff. “If they believe that the judiciary should be careful on certain issues … this should be adequately assessed. There are things that the judiciary in a state of law such as Turkey can do over these sorts of demands,” Arınç said. 

In its official complaint, the General Staff argued that evidence had been fabricated and manipulated in the coup plot cases, reports said. 

The move by the General Staff comes just days after Akdoğan spoke of a “plot” targeting the army, leading to opposition calls for exposure of the “conspiracy.”

Arınç said retrials may occur and an application could be filed for trials that had been completed.

Arınç also welcomed the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the lengthy detention’s duration of two jailed Kurdish lawmakers was excessive.

“I have said for three years that the durations of lengthy detentions have turned into punishment. I say that they should be released. I think that the right to a fair trial should not be violated,” Arınç said.