Turkish academic steps back amid furor over ‘civil war’ remarks

Turkish academic steps back amid furor over ‘civil war’ remarks

Turkish academic steps back amid furor over ‘civil war’ remarks

An academic in Istanbul has stepped back after outrage over his controversial remarks, which were widely perceived as threatening civil war if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) loses the June 24 election. 

“Our hope is for June 25. Otherwise, we will go to Belgrade Forest - where we have buried all of our materials - take it out and hit the streets, saying ‘in God’s name,’” Ahmet Maranki had said during a program on conservative broadcaster AKIT TV on May 23.

When the TV host objected, Maranki cited the July 2016 coup attempt. “They attacked us with artillery, guns and tanks. This nation is ready for it. I just mean it,” he said.

His remarks drew condemnation among for apparently threatening “civil war.”

An Istanbul prosecutor launched a probe into Maranki’s remarks on May 24, subpoenaing him over a legal charge titled “inciting people and provoking enmity through the media.”

As public outcry intensified, Maranki wrote in his column in the Yeni Akit newspaper on May 30 that what he buried in Istanbul’s Belgrade Forest was nothing but his “anger.”

Directly addressing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chairman Devlet Bahceli, Maranki blasted his critics.

“I have had no business with a gun since my mandatory military service. I haven’t needed it,” he said, adding that he and his friends go to Belgrade Forest for “judo exercises” and he buried his “anger” there.

Maranki was previously criticized for presenting himself as an expert on herbal medicine, although he has university degrees in political science and economics. He was prosecuted for illegally advertising medicine on television and was convicted of plagiarism over a book on herbs in 2015.