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    Former President Demirel issues sharp warning to PM Erdogan

    Hürriyet Haber
    27.10.2005 - 10:35 | Son Güncelleme:

    Former President of the Turkish Republic, Suleyman Demirel, has warned current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about his stance on the matter of the recent arrest of Van's Yuzuncu Yil University Rector Yucel Askin. PM Erdogan, earlier this week, criticized the visitation by Board of Higher Education (YOK) members to the jail in Van where Rector Askin is being held, saying "What business do those rectors have in Van?" Former President Demirel yesterday warned PM Erdogan "You are being a partner in this lawlessness."

    Some of what Demirel said to Hurriyet about the events of the last week:
     
    "Of course no one in Turkey has a special privilege to commit crimes. And if the Rector has committed a crime, is it one which requires imprisonment? The crime has not even been specified yet. The Rector is a suspect. And he is an esteemed man. He is not someone who will try to escape or erase the traces of a crime. If they are going to try him, let them do so; but in the open. And it is also clear that when he was arrested, he was treated badly."
     
    Responding to PM Erdogan's criticism of the very publicized visitation by other Turkish rectors to the Van jail where Rector Askin is being held, Demirel said this:
     
    "They are protesting. It is a reaction in a democratic country....By questioning 'what business do they have there?' you are becoming a partner in mistakes and lawlessness of another level altogether. If this man is aquitted tomorrow, it will be impossible to recompensate him for everything he has experienced."
     
    Reacting to the fact that the president of YOK, Erdogan Tezic, was searched before entering the Van prison where Rector Askin is being held, Demirel said this:
     
    "What an incredible level of lack of trust this shows...Do they think the president of YOK is going to try and slip a gun into the prison?"
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