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07:53, 20 February 2017 Monday
Update: 17:15, 17 September 2012 Monday

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Defiant PM tells TÜSİAD to mind its own business
Defiant PM tells TÜSİAD to mind its own business

Erdoğan said: “They are saying things like ‘It is our right to know.' Whose right is what? How extensive is that right? Ümit Boynar can't measure that. She should mind her own business.”

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told business group the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) to mind its own business, responding to questions from the organization regarding a munitions depot explosion in Afyon that killed 25 soldiers and the deaths of 34 civilians in an airstrike in Şırnak last year.

TÜSİAD President Ümit Boyner in remarks made late last week said, “The citizens want to understand what happened in Uludere [the Şırnak district where 34 locals were killed in an airstrike, with the military later announcing they were mistaken for terrorists] and the background to the blast in Afyon,” referring to a military arsenal explosion in that city last week that claimed the lives of 25 soldiers. “People want to know why these happened and who is responsible,” she said.

Speaking to journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he visited as part of an official trip to three countries last week, Erdoğan said: “They are saying things like ‘It is our right to know.' Whose right is what? How extensive is that right? Ümit Boynar can't measure that. She should mind her own business.”

Opponents have been criticizing the prime minister for a long time, saying he has become increasingly intolerant of criticism or opposing views, frequently scolding editors publicly for publications that go against the government's ideas.

TÜSİAD and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government have had a troubled relationship since the AK Party came to power nearly a decade ago. TÜSİAD has been criticized for a pro-military stance in the past, particularly the Feb. 28 period, and is seen by some as an elite club representing the interests of the country's secular establishment.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç last week accused TÜSİAD of being a member of the “gang of five,” a phrase used to refer to the workers' unions Turkish Confederation of Labor Unions (Türk-İş), the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DİSK), Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions (TİSK) and the Turkish Tradesmen and Artisans' Confederation (TESK), who displayed a pro-military stance during the period initiated by the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention, which caused the resignation of the government in power in summer of the same year. “They [TÜBİTAK] were part of the gang of five to overthrow the government,” Arınç said.

Boyner responded to Arınç's accusation, saying: “TÜSİAD has been working to increase Turkey's democratic standards for the past 41 years. It has never been part of the initiative Mr. Arınç defines as ‘the gang of five'.”

Most recently, the government and TÜSİAD clashed over a government proposal to change the duration of the country's compulsory education. TÜSİAD vehemently opposed the change, along with various other groups, mostly women's rights groups.

The government accused TÜSİAD of acting like an opposition party. AK Party Deputy Chairman Ömer Çelik even remarked at the time: “If that's how it is going to be, they should establish a party and confront us as such. If they talk in the style of a political party, that will be the response they'll get. They shouldn't see this as a form of pressure or the imposition of a stance,” in response to a statement from TÜSİAD asserting that it is a basic right of a civil society organization to criticize an impending bill.

The education bill has since been enacted into law.

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Press agenda on February 19
Press agenda on February 19

Here are the main topics World Bulletin’s English Desk plans to cover Sunday Feb. 19, 2017 (coverage may change depending on developing/breaking stories): BAGHDAD Iraqi forces launch an offensive on jihadists defending Mosul's west bank, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city. 700 words 0530 GMT by Ammar Karim and Jean-Marc Mojon US-militant-Egypt-prison,2ndlead WASHINGTON The sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian-born cleric linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, dies at 78 in a US prison facility after a long battle with diabetes and coronary artery disease. 650 words moved by Maggy Donaldson. File Picture Ukraine-Russia-conflict,WRAP MOSCOW A truce between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine will come into force Monday, Moscow and Kiev say, though some separatists are already labelling it unfeasible. 500 words moved by Anais Llobet Entertainment-film-festival-Germany,WRAP BERLIN Hungary's "On Body and Soul", a love story set in a slaughterhouse, wins the Golden Bear top prize at the Berlin film festival, Europe's first major cinema showcase of the year. 700 words moved by Deborah Cole. Picture. Video Also moved: Entertainment-film-festival-Germany-prizes,FACTS Entertainment-film-festival-Germany,POINTS Entertainment-film-festival-Germany-winners,CHRONO -- ASIA -- NKorea-Malaysia-diplomacy-community,SCENE KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia's only North Korean restaurant promises a glimpse into life in the reclusive state but it has been shuttered since news broke of the assassination of leader Kim Jong-Un's brother, with security guards turning customers away. 650 words 0600 GMT by Elizabeth Law. Picture. Video -- AMERICAS -- US-politics-Trump-Melania,lead MELBOURNE, Florida First Lady Melania Trump, usually a demure and soft-spoken presence at her husband's side, breaks with form, reciting the Lord's Prayer before issuing a scathing rebuke of his enemies and her critics at a campaign-style stop in Florida. 600 words moved by Michael Mathes with Stephanie Griffith in Washington. Picture. Video. US-media-politics-technology WASHINGTON As President Donald Trump warns of a crackdown on US government leaks to media, interest is growing in technology tools that allow sources to share information anonymously. 750 words moved by Rob Lever Venezuela-politics-opposition-US CARACAS Venezuela and the United States lock horns again over political prisoners held by Caracas, including over the detention of a jailed opposition leader whose supporters took to the streets of the capital to demand his release.