PM: Military has right to respond to insults

PM: Military has right to respond to insults

PM: Military has right to respond to insults

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks yesterday at a meeting of his party’s youth branches in Trabzon. AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stands in firm support of the Turkish military, which issued a harsh statement against the dissident columnist Bekir Coşkun over a controversial article in which he likened the soldiers to tamed dogs.

“Every institution has got the right to respond to accusations, insults and baseless rumors against itself. Every institution defends itself and its image as long as the issue is related with its own. There’s nothing to find odd. It’s unacceptable for the institution [army] to remain silent when an impertinent [person] insults the honorable soldiers of this country,” Erdoğan said yesterday at a meeting of his party’s youth branches in Trabzon.

Coşkun’s controversial article published May 3 in daily Cumhuriyet sparked a debate after the General Staff issued a harsh statement condemning “provocations” which target the army. Coşkun wrote an imaginary dialogue between a wolf and a tamed dog called “Pasha,” a popular dog name and the colloquial word for general. In his article, the chubby Pasha boasts about his comfortable life in the hut, but says that one must accept to wear a leash and obey their owner in return for the bones and cushions.

Erdoğan last week had denounced the article as the reflection of fury over the military’s failure to carry out a coup against the government.

Maintaining its reaction, Erdoğan linked Coşkun’s article with the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) mentality yesterday. “They [CHP] started to insult to the army that they were not able to provoke [to carry out a coup]. They started to slander, defame and affront the army that they were not able to mobilize via their half-portion-intellectuals,” he said.

‘Paper tiger’

Erdoğan also criticized CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, whom had criticized Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel for his intolerance to criticism and urged him and the army to “know their place.”

“The CHP, who remained silent to the interventions against the legislation and the judiciary, turned into a paper tiger against the General Staff’s recent statement. If you [CHP] are a tiger, why did you remain silent to the military statements of April 27 [2007] or Feb. 28 [1997]? They are not able to provoke the army, they are swearing. They cannot accept democracy, they find it odd. They stood against the people throughout their history. They stand by those who insult the honorable Turkish soldiers today,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also attended the ceremony for laying the foundation of the Ovit-İspir tunnel in north-east Anatolia. The tunnel will connect the Black Sea region with the Eastern Anatolia, Erdoğan said. He also said that the government plans to hold a tender this year for the construction of a third airport in Istanbul.

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