Speaker Çiçek, PM Erdoğan meet on Vic. Day amid row

Speaker Çiçek, PM Erdoğan meet on Vic. Day amid row

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Speaker Çiçek, PM Erdoğan meet on Vic. Day amid row

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (3rd L) and Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek (4th L) join the Victory Day ceremonies. DHA photo

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came together yesterday during Victory Day celebrations, amid an ongoing row between the government and Çiçek over the latter’s anti-terror manifesto.

“My call was not a criticism against the government and I was not trying to point at the government’s imperfection,” Çiçek was quoted as saying by daily Milliyet yesterday. Çiçek’s statement came hours before he was set to lead Victory Day celebrations due to President Abdullah Gül’s absence, in which Erdoğan also took part.

Çiçek recently announced an 11-article text with the title “National Consensus against Terror,” in which he called on all political parties to sit around the same table to find a common way to end the terror problem. He also proposed giving more importance to meeting the needs of the families of fallen soldiers and to supply more resources to the military in the fight against terror.

Çiçek said he made the call as “Citizen Cemil,” but drew strong reactions from the government, particularly from Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç. Çiçek, a lawmaker from the Justice and Development Party (AKP), was elected as Parliament Speaker last year for two years.

The issue was discussed during the AKP’s central decision-making body meeting, where Erdoğan reportedly criticized Çiçek for not consulting with the political parties before issuing the text.
“I have told journalists that I made this call as citizen Cemil Çiçek, and not as the Parliament Speaker. If I had made it as the Parliament Speaker, then I would certainly have talked to the deputy parliamentary group leaders of all political parties,” Çiçek said.

He also denied assertions that he had made the call as part of a plan to win the approval of opposition parties for his candidacy for the presidency. “I do not rise to the bait in my political life,” he said, adding that he was living every day like the last day of his life. “This is my philosophy of life.”