Turkey's Erdogan chairs Cabinet for first time as president

Security and public order were the first items on the agenda during the Council of Minister’s meeting in Ankara, says Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc.

Turkey's Erdogan chairs Cabinet for first time as president

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired for the first time Turkish government’s Council of Minister’s meeting as head of state at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on Monday that reviewed a host of internal and international issues.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc gave details of the Cabinet meeting during which several ministers, including Interior Minister Efkan Ala gave detailed presentations.

The meeting began with Erdogan’s opening remarks during which he said that he and the Turkish government led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu were all working together towards the aim of being at the service of Turkish people.

"Security and public order were the first items on the agenda," Arinc said.

He said the council discussed security and public order, including the country's Kurdish solution process and efforts in the fight against the "parallel state."

Parallel state or structure is the name given by the government to an alleged group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police, who have worked to undermine the incumbent Turkish government.

Interior minister’s presentation included a recent incident in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sirnak where a 12-year-old boy was killed during clashes after an illegal demonstration by the youth wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU and the conflict has claimed around 40,000 lives in the past 30 years.

Four people were killed and three others were injured in December 2014 when clashes erupted between pro and anti-PKK groups in the same town, before being broken up by security forces.

Arinc said the council thought the incident was not just a matter of public order, but was also related to the solution process that aimed to end a decades-long conflict with the PKK, and might also have a political aspect since the illegal protest was attended by some members of parliament from pro-Kurdish Democracy of Peoples' Party, or the HDP.

"If there is a group of bandits who say we will not lay down arms and give these territories to anyone, then it is certainly the duty of the government to draw them away from there," the deputy prime minister said.

The meeting also evaluated last year’s foreign policy and focused on the latest developments in Iraq, Syria and Palestine along with global terrorism threats.

"Undersecretariat of Turkey's National Intelligence Service gave a detailed presentation before the Council of Ministers regarding the global terror and recent attacks in Turkey, France, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Yemen," he added.

Arinc said the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Economy Ali Babacan and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci also briefed the council about economic developments at home and abroad during 2014.

The meeting also discussed latest developments regarding Turkey's accession to the European Union.

Arinc also dismissed claims in the media that Turkey had switched to a presidential system because of the Cabinet meeting being chaired by Erdogan.

"The parliamentary system is still functioning in Turkey. We have a president and a prime minister both of whom are working within their realms of authority," he said.

The deputy prime minister added that by chairing the Cabinet meeting, Erdogan had only exercised an authority given to him by the country’s constitution 40 years ago.

Arinc said the next Cabinet meeting on Monday will be presided by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as usual, adding that no "periodic" Cabinet meetings under Erdogan were planned.

Erdogan is the sixth president who headed a cabinet meeting after the country's transition to a multi-party system in 1946.

Before him, former presidents Cemal Gursel, Fahri Koruturk, Kenan Evren, Turgut Ozal and Suleyman Demirel have all chaired cabinet meetings in the past.

Turkey's eighth President Ozal headed the meeting seven times and the seventh President Evren four times.

The fourth President Gursel, sixth President Koruturk and ninth President Demirel each chaired cabinet meetings twice.

The last meeting was chaired by the ninth President Demirel on May 12, 2000, four days before his presidency came to an end.

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Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2015, 23:41
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