Turkish PM slams AKP member for ‘new state’ remarks

Turkish PM slams AKP member for ‘new state’ remarks

Turkish PM slams AKP member for ‘new state’ remarks Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has slammed a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) member over his controversial remarks on “founding a new state,” which had prompted outrage from opposition parties. 

Yıldırım criticized AKP member Ayhan Oğan after the latter said the government is “building a new state and its founding leader is President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

“Are you joking? The state of the Turkish Republic was founded on Oct. 29, 1923,” Yıldırım said in a speech in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas on Aug. 5, adding that “what someone says carries no importance.”

“What is said by TV programmers and commentators are not binding for our party,” he added. 

Oğan had raised eyebrows by saying on Aug. 3 that the “building of a new state” started after the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. 

“Whether you like it or not, this new state’s founding leader is Tayyip Erdoğan,” Oğan said during a program on private broadcaster CNN Türk. 

“On July 15, all tutelage mechanisms within the state crumbled apart. The state system in which bureaucratic oligarchy was the hegemon has come to an end,” he added. 

His words prompted outrage among opposition ranks, leading main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Aytuğ Atıcı to question whether the current state “has been demolished.”

Upon a reporter’s question about Oğan being a former AKP Central Decision Making and Executive Council (MKYK) member, Prime Minister Yıldırım described his remarks as “unacceptable.” 

“The title is not important. It would also be unacceptable if one of our friends on duty said that. What’s significant is the content of the remarks, not who said it,” he added. 

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also blasted Oğan’s remarks. 

“It’s clear who forms and announces the views of the government. All other statements are binding only for the person who said them,” Bozdağ said on Aug. 6. 

A day earlier, AKP spokesperson Mahir Ünal released a similar statement, saying Oğan’s comments are “binding only for Oğan himself.” 

“We would like to state once again that the founding leader of the state of the Turkish Republic is the hero of the Çanakkale and independence wars, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” Ünal said, complaining that a “campaign has been launched against the AKP over this incident.” 

After Ünal’s statement, CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan issued a statement asking whether the AKP has “taken any action against Oğan.”

“Ünal’s statements cannot lift the burden on the AKP. The issue is not as simple as one where the AKP can simply say ‘it’s his personal view’ and take a step back,” Tezcan said on Aug. 5. 

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also slammed Oğan.

“Out of nowhere, a discredited person has mentioned a new state. If you want the truth, it’s a waste of both effort and time to take this shadowy person’s nonsensical talk seriously,” Bahçeli said on his Twitter account on Aug. 5.

“The answering of these dire claims primarily by President Erdoğan is the most accurate and logical thing … However, we also have a lot to say. In the Turkish state tradition, the fate of the nation is one and the same with the fate of the state. To say that a new state is being formed is to accept the existence of an old one and then to announce the collapse of the targeted state,” he added. 

The MHP leader also suggested that Oğan had “used the same rhetoric” as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and “parallels,” referring to the Gülenists. 

“The remarks on a ‘new state’ are calls by those longing for the parallel state,” Bahçeli said, describing Oğan’s remark as an “olive branch extended to FETÖ.”

“There is one state and its name is the Republic of Turkey. It will stay that way. If some are aiming for a new state or a founding leader, using July 15 as a step and April 16 as an excuse, they should pull themselves together,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Oğan released a statement on the issue, noting that after the July 2016 coup attempt and the April 16 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, the “structures that infiltrated into the state are being cleaned up.”

“The process of building and strengthening the state goes simultaneously with cleaning these structures up and the leader of this process is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Oğan said, also praising Bahçeli “for being on the side of an anti-imperialist and independent Turkey.”

“The leader of the main opposition [Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu] has the mandate logic from 100 years before. A new process has started after April 16. No one is powerful enough to prevent it. Political history will write it like this: The founder of the Turkish Republic is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the founding party is the CHP. The leader of the second process, in which Turkey is designed as an absolutely independent state of the people, is Erdoğan and the political leaders siding with him. The leader of that independence movement is the AKP,” he added. 

The CHP, meanwhile, announced on Aug. 4 that it had filed a complaint against Oğan over his remarks.