Turkish PM urges respect for intel chief’s decision to run for parliament

Turkish PM urges respect for intel chief’s decision to run for parliament

Turkish PM urges respect for intel chief’s decision to run for parliament

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The president’s apparent reaction against a decision by the country’s intelligence chief to resign and run for parliament stems from the high opinion he has of Hakan Fidan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has argued, while underlining Fidan’s right to make his own career decision.

“The convictions Mr. President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] has expressed about Mr. Fidan display two things: One, the high opinion that Mr. President has of Mr. Fidan and two, the importance that Mr. President attaches to the Undersecretary of the [National Intelligence Organization] MİT,” Davutoğlu said late Feb. 11 during a live interview on public broadcaster TRT Haber.

Earlier this week, while speaking to reporters on his plane traveling to Colombia, Erdoğan had expressed fury at Hakan’s surprise resignation.

Fidan resigned over the weekend to run parliament for Davutoğlu’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), with Erdoğan then stunning commentators by saying he did not approve of the move.

“Like all the other high-level civil servants, Mr. Fidan has the right to make his own decisions. When he told me about his decision, as Mr. President also said, I respected this decision with the authority that I hold; and in this sense, the required decisions have been made,” Davutoğlu said.

“I believe that Mr. President used these expressions because of the confidence he felt and the importance he attaches to both the person and the office,” he reiterated.

Fidan has always been seen as one of Erdoğan’s most loyal allies and his motives in wanting to run for parliament and enter politics remain unclear, with some believing he is eyeing a top government job.

During the same interview with reporters, Erdoğan said Fidan resigned despite his objection, as he wanted Fidan to remain in his crucial current post.

Nonetheless, the appointment of Fidan’s successor as MİT chief must be approved by the president, Erdoğan stressed, suggesting that he would have the final say on the matter.

Davutoğlu was speaking after chairing a cabinet meeting, while at the same time, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bülent Arınç also touched upon the issue at a press conference.

“There is only one reality in the open; that Fidan left office upon our prime minister’s conviction and discretion that it is appropriate and has displayed his will for bidding for candidacy to become a lawmaker. Mr. Prime Minister’s discretion is present. There is no need for any of us to make a comment when his discretion is present,” Arınç told reporters, while speaking at the conference following the cabinet meeting.