Government Spokesperson Bülent Arınç Criticized Erdoğan Over Kurdish Process

bulent-arinc-640x360A senior government official has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his latest intervention into the government-led Kurdish peace process, describing the president’s remarks as emotional and personal.

“His statements that ‘I didn’t like it’ or ‘I don’t approve this and that’ are his emotional remarks. The responsibility belongs to the government and we can regard his statements as his personal views,” Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bülent Arınç told reporters March 21.

Arınç’s statement constitutes the first public and straight criticism against the President by the government, signalling a disagreement between Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Arınç’s reaction came after President Erdoğan said on March 20 that he did not approve the formation of a monitoring committee as part of the Kurdish peace process although the government and the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) reached a deal on it.

Erdoğan said he read the news on the newspapers and expressed his obvious opposition to the development although it marks an important milestone in running the peace process.

Arınç made this statement on the very day Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) publicized a fresh call on the PKK to hold a congress as soon as possible to discuss the disarmament of the outlawed organization.

Although Arınç expressed his contentment with the Öcalan’s statement, he asked “How would this statement (of Öcalan) be if (Presdient’s) statement would come a day ago?”

“Our government regards this step an appropriate one. We also have a road map on who’s going to do what throughout the process. It’s the government that is running the country and the responsibility belongs to the government,” Arınç stressed, dismissing Erdoğan’s claims that he was left uninformed of the developments.

“It’s impossible to think that our President is unaware of the developments and of our steps. He knows everything very well. These issues are in-detail discussed at the National Security Council meetings as well as weekly meetings with our prime minister,” he said.

‘Public criticism hurts Erdoğan, not government’

Arınç also noted that Erdoğan’s public criticism against the government will not damage the credibility of the government but the president himself and called President not to talk about these issues through the media.

The deputy prime minister underlined that the public opinion should pay attention to the statements made by either Prime Minister Davutoğlu and deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan over the Kurdish peace process and do not pay attention to speculative news.

Although neither Erdoğan nor Davutoğlu immediately commented on Arınç’s statement, a deputy from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has voiced his “surprise.”

“I am very sad. Using of a phrase like ’emotional remarks of our President’ made me feel uncomfortable,” Mehmet Metiner, a deputy close to Erdoğan told journalists on March 21.

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