Turkish PM: Dolmabahçe meeting claims unfairly exaggerated

Turkish PM: Dolmabahçe meeting claims unfairly exaggerated

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM: Dolmabahçe meeting claims unfairly exaggerated

Erdoğan vows to eradicate the mentality that supports coups.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated that speculations over a well-known 2007 between himself and then-Chief of General Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt, dubbed as “the Dolmabahçe meeting,” were “exaggerated, unfair and unreal,” as he described the meeting as “weekly, regular and ordinary.”

Erdoğan’s comments on the meeting came in response to questions by members of Parliament’s Coups and Military Memorandums Commission conveyed late Nov. 26.

“The start of weekly meetings between the prime minister and the chief of general staff, who answers to him, and the transformation of military-civilian relations into the form that they should be, is a positive development with regard to Turkish politics,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan held a closed meeting with Büyükanıt at the historical Dolmabahçe Palace, where Erdoğan has an office, on May 4, 2007, only seven days after the infamous “e-memorandum.”

The “e-memorandum” posted on the military’s website around midnight on April 27, 2007 was the first episode in a chain of events that plunged Turkey into political turmoil and forced early elections. In the statement, the army threatened to step in to protect Turkey’s secular system. Hours later, Parliament held an inconclusive, first-round vote to elect a new president. At the time, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül was the sole candidate.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won comfortably and the new Parliament elected Gül in August of that year.

As for the military e-memorandum of April 27, 2007, Erdoğan used the word “declaration,” and stressed that the government’s stance vis-à-vis this declaration had been “extremely clear and determined.”

“Our government displayed a tough and determined stance instead of remaining silent and nonreactive and bowing to these kinds of declarations, as previous governments, political parties and politicians had done in the past. We took sides with democracy and the nation’s will,” Erdoğan said.

He strongly ruled out suggestions that the declaration was a thrown game between the government and the military aimed at bringing votes to the AKP. The prime minister indicated that the opposition parties’ passive stance in response to the April 27 move was punished by the nation during the subsequent parliamentary elections of 2007.