Allegations in new videos shake Erdoğan’s AKP

Murat Yetkin

Journalist-Writer

Minister Solyu (L) and President Erdoğan (R) are seen at a funeral. (Photo: Turkish Presidency)

A question by the state-run Anadolu Agency reporter during a joint conference of two Turkish ministers on May 21 stirred debate, making the uneasiness inside the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) visible. Reporter Musab Turan was immediately fired because of his question that actually analyzes the current situation of the AKP, signaling the rising heat within the party.
So, as many were awaiting a new video by Sedat Peker, the fugitive mob leader who has been introducing deep allegations about Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and other prominent figures, it was the Anadolu Agency reporter who added more stress of the intra-party tensions.
In the meantime, let’s keep in mind that it’s been a week that Sedat Peker placed a legal complaint against Peker but no investigation has been launched yet. Even this sole example proves how serious the problems inside the government are.
So the AKP is in trouble with videos aired abroad and within the country. Before analyzing that let us touch on another matter, the arrested businessman and activist Osman Kavala.
On May 21, the day the agency reporter asked that “question”, an Istanbul court upheld the arrest of Kavala, who has been n jail for 1,811 days. Although he was previously acquitted in the trial into the 2013 Gezi Park protests that shook the government at the time, his release was prevented yet another case launched. The judicial panel discusses new accusations about Kavala just to pretend that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) objection to his arrest was fulfilled.
Journalist Gökçer Tahincioğlu pointed to this new tactic in his column on T24, saying that it could be used in the future to bypass the ECtHR decisions in right violation cases. Which cases are they? The case of Selahattin Demirtaş, the arrested former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the case into 2015 violence known as the Kobani incident, might be the upcoming examples.

What does it have to do with Kavala?

The recent developments about the minister and the mob leader might seem unattached to the Kavala case but they are. All are related to the efforts to keep President Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP in power.
What is Erdoğan’s trouble with Kavala? Or Demirtaş?
Before the Gezi Park protests, during the failed talks between the government via the Turkish Intelligence Service (MİT) and the outlawed PKK leader, Kavala had sent a message that the presidency of Erdoğan should not be subject to a bargain because it would introduce a risk of “totalitarian regime.”
This was also the time that Demirtaş said they would not let Erdoğan become the president, despite the Feb. 28, 2015, declaration on the reconciliation of the Kurdish issue. This is why Erdogan is obsessed with both Kavala and Demirtaş.
The Kavala case is the indicator Erdoğan’s insistence on the current presidential system, which replaced the parliamentary one in 2017, whatever it takes even at a time when his election partner, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli is seeking the correction of injustices with a new Constitution suggestion.
So, the Anadolu Agency reporter exploding in anger in the face of loss of balance in the AKP, the Peker videos and the Kavala case are somehow related.

And the videos

Musab Turan, the Anadolu Agency reporter, was assigned to follow the press briefing of Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemir. He says in the video that Rıdvan Tezel, the advisor of Pakdemirli, told in his ear “in a cheeky manner” that “You don’t ask questions.” So the two ministers do not want any questions at a press briefing!
“The reporters of Anadolu Agency, Demirören News Agency (DHA) and TRT News are already there. What can these guys ask you?” Turan continues. Journalists who are not working at pro-government outlets are not accredited at such events. Still, the advisor of the minister felt the need to warn the reporters who are supposed to not ask questions anyway; because the seats are rocking.
This warning drove Turan nuts. Although he is an AKP supporter, he questions himself: “I am an individual, right? I have my own views.”
The 32-year-old reporter is a member of the generation. Y, which stands for one-third of the Turkish voters in the presidential and parliament elections in 2023. He reminds of the videos of Peker and the silence of Erdoğan’s cabinet on the issue, defining the situation as a “masquerade” and asks: “Is the AKP smaller than Soylu?”

Soylu’s loneliness

Cemil Çiçek, the former justice minister, government spokesperson and parliament speaker, who is today a member of the presidential advisory board, was one of the first AKP figures to react to Peker videos. “If even one-tenth is correct, these allegations should be investigated,” he said.
Cahit Özkan, AK Party Parliament Group Deputy Chairman, said the following for the preparation of the CHP’s Research Proposal on May 20: “We are once again witnessing issues related to how the mafias are in a network of relations within the state. (…) These kinds of claims should be investigated very carefully,” said Chait Özkan, the deputy chair of the AKP group in parliament, on May 20, while commenting on the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) preparations for a parliamentary question on Peker’s allegations.
Now we wonder what would the AKP and MHP do if the CHP or İYİ Party (Good Party) can take the issue to parliament vote. Will they reject the proposal just like they did about the corruption allegations against the dismissed Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan?
But let me repeat it. Despite Minister Soylu’s call, no investigations have been launched yet? Don’t you think that this is strange?

Other ministers are on target, too

The fact that the reporter, who is proud that himself his and his father are heartfelt AKP members, speaks with such a tongue about Soylu, indicates that the conservative members of the party from the Islamic View grassroots -the political movement that Erdoğan raised from – or the cults or other religious communities do not want to see any figures in AKP management who do not share their roots. The reporter wants the party to “return to its factory settings”, which does not mean the era that it used to somehow embrace broader sections of the society in the early 2000s, but the grassroots of Necmettin Erbakan, the late prime minister who led the National View and its political parties.
This desire has been there since the 2019 local elections defeat of the AKP, and Islamic groups and cults have been blackmailing Erdoğan with their voter potential since then.
Erdoğan’s moves of re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque or Turkey’s retreat from the Istanbul Convention against violence against women are linked to his will to satisfy these groups.
And Soylu is not the sole center-right politician that these cadres target. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Education Minister Ziya Selçuk, Culture and Tourism Mehmet Ersoy are among the others. Do you think it is a coincidence that Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, yet another center-right rooted politician, has started talking about “ummah” instead of the “nation” more often?
So Musab Turan’s video adds to the Peker videos. Let’s see what’s next.

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