MHP leader calls for military coup: PM Davutoğlu
Deniz Zeyrek ANKARA/BUDAPEST
AA PhotoPrime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has accused Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli of calling on the army to stage a coup against the government after the latter slammed the chief of General Staff for not opposing the evacuation of Turkish troops protecting a historic tomb in Syria.
“The MHP issued a statement today: In the past, chiefs of General Staff have shown courage to stand against political leaders on decisions they regard as unfavorable. This is a call for a coup d’état. No party represented in parliament can make such a statement. This is a call for a coup and a habit of the old Turkey,” Davutoğlu said during a party group meeting in parliament Feb. 25.
The statement Davutoğlu referred to was made by deputy MHP leader Semih Yalçın who invited Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel to resign to protect his and the army’s honor after the Feb. 22 evacuation of the Tomb of Süleyman Şah in Syria. Davutoğlu’s tough statement against the MHP came just after Bahçeli and Özel engaged in a war of words, with the former slamming the four-star general for not having strong patriotic feelings.
Davutoğlu was more explicit in his statements to reporters traveling with from Budapest to Ankara late Feb. 24. Calling the attack made by Bahçeli against Özel “ugly and shameless,” Davutoğlu urged the opposition leader not to address the top soldier as he was not his counterpart.
“It is I who gives instructions to the Chief of General Staff. You can talk to me. [Addressing] the chief of staff is not your right. We will not allow anybody to talk against civil servants in our service,” he said. “If anybody wanted to harm the Turkish Armed Forces and the Republic of Turkey, he would not do more damage than Bahçeli did. Even [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad’s envoy at the U.N. did not speak that harshly against Turkey. Everything has a limit. The hostility against the AK Party has turned into hostility against the homeland, people and the state,” he added, calling on Bahçeli to apologize to Özel.