Sefa Özkaya - Hürriyet / Istanbul, March 27 () - Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has once again public slammed Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, continuing the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) internal row.
Arınç vowed on March 27 that Gökçek “will give an account for his words” while also denying alleged links to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, which the government has denounced as a “parallel state.”
“He [Gökçek] will give an account for his words. I am not a ‘paralelci’ [a member of the Gülen movement]. He is just trying to gain the president’s favor” the deputy prime minister said in Istanbul. Arınç said he “cannot welcome slander and lies.”
“There is a thing called party discipline. You are accountable for your words. My heart told me to say something that day” he added, referring to his first outburst following Gökçek’s public criticism of him.
Responding to the Ankara mayor, Arınç said Gökçek had “sat in the lap” of the Gülen movement and had “sold Ankara to this structure plot by plot.”
Gökçek had earlier accused Arınç of “serving” the Gülen movement, following the deputy prime minister’s criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s interventions into government affairs, which some suggest has tarnished the government’s credibility ahead of the parliamentary elections in June.
“Arınç can no longer be the spokesperson of the party. He cannot represent us. What Arınç must do from now on is first resign as spokesperson, and then resign from his seat in the government” Gökçek had said via his Twitter account on March 23.