Republican People's Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce has been criticized by government officials after he threatened to remove the epaulets of Second Army Commander İsmail Metin Temel on Saturday for supporting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his presidential campaign.
Last week, İnce criticized Temel after he applauded Erdoğan when he criticized İnce at a meeting, saying that it is contradictory to his objectivity as an officer. "I will make him retire on August 30 and take his epaulets off," İnce said.
On the issue, Erdoğan slammed İnce by saying that he is acting as if he wants to be a "king" for the country. "What happens after he takes the mission, while he is already doing this?" the president said on Saturday in Aksaray province.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also slammed İnce by saying that the greatest lesson for those who want to attack our soldiers like terrorists will be given them by the nation in the ballots. "Do the task of dismantling the epaulets of a heroic countryman, such as İsmail Temel, given by the PKK or FETÖ or their supporters?" he asked.
National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said İnce exceeded the limits by threatening a commander who fights terrorists for this nation. "Lieutenant General İsmail Metin Temel is a heroic commander who manages Turkey's heroic Turkish Armed Forces on the battlefield where the territorial integrity is threatened and innocent people are killed. ... These epaulets were given to him by our nation. Your force is not enough to remove these epaulets," he said.
Lt. Gen. İsmail Metin Temel is the Second Army commander in charge of Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Syria.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to remove the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
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