In his fury over the government’s move to resolve the Kurdish issue by granting more rights to Kurds, the leader of the country’s ultra-nationalist party seems to have burned his bridges with top officials.
Devlet Bahçeli, the head of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, refused to meet with President Abdullah Gül, who sought to reduce the tension following the National Security Council, or MGK’s, supportive statement about the government-led process.
Issuing three harsh statements in four days, Bahçeli criticized the MGK, which is the country’s top security board and made up of both civilian and military brass, and accused all involved of taking part in what he calls as a treasonous project.
In a counter-statement, the presidency criticized Bahçeli for attacking the MGK and described the MHP leader’s words as “indecent.” Gül attempted to bring an end to the quarrel by inviting Bahçeli to a bilateral meeting, but his invitation was rejected.
In his latest statement, issued Saturday, Bahçeli said he stood behind his words about the MGK. “Turkey has come to a crossroads. Every individual and institution is faced with their responsibility before the history and the nation,” he said.
In the same statement, Bahçeli also responded to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had asked the MHP chief to prove his allegations that the Kurdish move was in fact an American initiative. “There is no doubt that this project is a requirement of the strategic targets of the United States,” Bahçeli said.
Daily Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila said Bahçeli’s strong reaction to the MGK, a constitutional institution not usually criticized by politicians, was in fact targeted at the military, in particular Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ.
Bila, in his column on Sunday, argued that Bahçeli’s statement sent two fundamental messages to Başbuğ. The first message was that “the support given by the MGK created the impression that the military was also backing the process,” thus prompting Bahçeli to ask Başbuğ to differentiate the military’s position in regard to the process.
The second message, Bila wrote, is that “if the military does not do that, then it will also share the responsibility for this historical deviation from the official line.”
According to the columnist, the military brass has already decided to stay out of this ongoing debate and the statement from the MGK only refers to the general atmosphere for a resolution to the issue and does not represent support for any particular solution.
The military’s true position will only become known after the release of the plan, Bila wrote.
Hürriyet Daily News