Nothing more natural than having close relations with the president, says PM
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJan 27, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jan 27, 2015 12:00 am
After President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired a Cabinet meeting earlier this month, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu slammed opposition criticism and said: "There is nothing more natural than the government being in close cooperation with the president."
While speaking at the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Davutoğlu said that no one should hope to witness conflict between the president and members of government. In a first in his presidential term, Erdoğan chaired a Cabinet meeting earlier this month, focusing on threats to national security.
The Cabinet meeting, the first to be chaired by a president in the last 15 years, was seen as a move to fortify cooperation between presidential and prime ministerial mechanisms.
In response to allegations that Erdoğan's Cabinet meeting would decrease the powers of the prime minister, Davutoğlu asserted that this was not the case in a recent televised interview, and that there would be no changes in the prime minister or president's powers. According to the Constitution, the president is the head of state. In this capacity the president can preside over Cabinet meetings if he or she deems it necessary.
Although previous presidents such as Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel were elected by Parliament, they used their constitutional power and chaired Cabinet meetings occasionally. Özal chaired Cabinet meetings from time to time and his successor Demirel chaired only one Cabinet meeting.
Furthermore, Davutoğlu commented on relations with the E.U. and Turkey's decades-long bid to join the 28-member bloc. He said that previously the E.U. had not wanted to accept Turkey as it was weak, but now the union does not want to accept Turkey because of its strength.
"We will not ask for special treatment from the E.U.," Davutoğlu said, adding that the E.U. cannot become a global power without accepting Turkey. He said that Turkey will continue to proceed with its developments in all aspects despite attempts to cast a shadow to Turkey's success story.
Davutoğlu criticized Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and said that speaking Kurdish will not divide Turkey, but will unite everyone who lives in the country, and pledged that the AK Party will continue to embrace all citizens regardless of their background.
He panned Bahçeli's nationalist rhetoric for being narrow, and said that nationalism is only possible by elevating the symbols of the country, referring to the Turkish flag. He said that despite Bahçeli's criticism of Turkey's assistance to Somalia, Turkey has given $300 million in aid to Somalia where people are suffering poverty and deprivation.