PM Erdoğan, Deputy PM Arınç to travel to Diyarbakır together amid rift
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PM Erdoğan’s aides contacted Deputy PM Arınç’s office on Nov. 13 and conveyed the prime minister’s invitation to travel on board the same plane to Diyarbakır, sources told HDN. AA photoA key visit by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Diyarbakır on Nov. 16 could serve as a means to make overcome a recent rift between him and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.
Erdoğan and Arınç were publicly engaged in a row, mostly due to the prime minister’s stance and style in his criticism of co-ed student housing.
Erdoğan’s aides contacted Arınç’s office on Nov. 13 and conveyed the prime minister’s invitation to travel on board the same plane to Diyarbakır, where he will also meet Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani on Nov. 16, sources close to Arınç told Hürriyet Daily News. Arınç responded affirmatively to Erdoğan’s invitation, the same sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Hüseyin Çelik, also the spokesperson of the party, speaking to the Anadolu Agency later in the day, confirmed Erdoğan and Arınç will travel together to Diyarbakır on Nov. 16.
“The prime minister and Arınç will go to Diyarbakır together. There is no problem at all,” Çelik told Anadolu, adding those who were eager to get political benefit out of an assumed rift between the two long-time allies should better leave such hopes aside.
“There is no benefit for them to gain here,” Çelik said. Erdoğan suggested last week that regulations be drawn up to stop male and female students living together. His comments caused uproar in Turkey, where critics fear encroachment of an Islamic religious influence on the affairs of a secular state.
Arınç, also government spokesman and a co-founder of the AKP, previously denied press reports that Erdoğan had made such a suggestion during a closed-door party meeting over the weekend.
Yet, in a rather blunt riposte, Arınç said in an interview on state broadcaster TRT on Nov. 15 that Erdoğan had left the government unnecessarily open to criticism.
“I would like to make a call to our prime minister as a friend and brother that there is a clear contradiction between his speech as prime minister and my statement as the government spokesman,” Arınç said. “I am not responsible for this contradiction.”