Erdogan 'not happy' with ex-intel chief standing as MP

Turkish President Erdogan expresses reservations with Fidan's move to run in June elections after resigning his post this week.

Erdogan 'not happy' with ex-intel chief standing as MP

World Bulletin / News Desk

Present Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday reacted icily to the candidacy of ex-intelligence agency chief Hakan Fidan in the upcoming general elections.

"I do not have a favorable opinion for [Hakan Fidan's] candidacy; let me say that very clearly. I have also said this to Mr. Prime Minister before," said Erdogan in a press conference at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport ahead of his visit to South America, where his office says he will seek to boost Turkey's bilateral economic ties.

Erdogan said it was Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's decision to nominate Fidan.

"I have no authority to interfere in that (decision). I don't have the right," the president said.

The president did not spell out his reasons. But analysts suggested Erdogan may have intervened because he had come to rely on Fidan at the helm of the intelligence agency.

"Hakan Fidan is Erdogan's man in Turkey's intelligence community. He is at the centre of the Kurdish peace talks ... and Turkey's Syrian policy. Who can replace him," said Jonathan Friedman, senior associate at Stroz Friedberg.

Late on Friday, Fidan resigned his post as head of National Intelligence Agency to stand in the upcoming June 7 general elections, the prime minister's office said.

Fidan held his post since May 2010. Before, he worked as deputy undersecretary in the prime ministry when Erdogan was prime minister.

He has been an influential figure in Turkey and made headlines several times mainly related to Turkey's solution process and its Middle East policy.

Erdogan also slammed critical remarks from opposition parties for Fidan’s standing as MP.

"Just as every public servant has the right to resign and become a candidate, the person at the top of the intelligence service can resign and become a candidate if a political party nominates him," Erdogan said, adding that there was no prohibition for public workers in this regard.

Fidan, who has so far made no comment, had been tipped by many as a potential foreign minister.

Fidan's departure comes at a difficult time regionally for Turkey, with mounting security threats posed by instability along its Iraq and Syria borders.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Şubat 2015, 14:52