Erdogan slams newspaper headline ‘provoking tensions in the state’

Turkey President Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar at an extraordinary press conference, 28 February 2017

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, and the Turkish Armed Forces have all responded to an article in Turkey’s highest selling daily newspaper Hurriyet, which caused uproar in the country on Saturday.

“This is bad manners, no one has the right to provoke tension within the state,” Erdogan said about the article ‘The headquarters is disgruntled’ which discussed criticisms directed against the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) from the political class and officials. “Everyone must know their place. They will pay a high price. I don’t think this is forgivable,” the president said in relation to the article.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus was equally enraged by journalist Hande Firat’s article. “It looks as though there are some who are disturbed by the Turkish Armed Forces working in harmony with the civil will and government in Turkey,” Kurtulmus said. “Turkey is not the old Turkey anymore. Within this respect, everyone should be careful of their words,” the deputy prime minister warned.

The Turkish Armed Forces released a statement in which they insisted that their institution should not become a target in internal politics or personal affairs. “Presenting the relationship between the state and the Armed Forces as problematic is to distort things,” the statement read.

An investigation has been launched by the Bakirkoy Chief Prosecutor’s office in Istanbul after it received a complaint about the story published on Saturday. Pro-government newspapers and columnists called Firat’s report a “call for military intervention”.

Hurriyet’s editor-in-chief, Sedat Ergin, was also dismissed from his position following the headline and will be replaced by Fikret Bila, a journalist who is known to have good ties with the government.