The Presidential October 29 Reception, to which President Ahmet Necdet Sezer did not invite the turbaned wives of Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies, stamped this year’s National Day celebrations.
Sezer: I Did Not Give A Chance to Anti-Secularism
Erdogan: Put Yourself in the Shoes Of My Wife
Ozkok: Whatever The President Says Is True
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, and Chief of Joint Staff Hilmi Ozkok made important statements in the October 29 reception, which was shadowed by the controversies over turban. While Sezer defended his preference of not inviting the turbaned wives of AKP deputies to the reception, Erdogan criticized him, but General Ozkok extended full support.
Sezer: It Is A Stance Towards Secularism
Regarding the reason why he did not invite the turbaned wives of AKP deputies, Sezer said, “This is not a personal reception of mine. The qualifications of the state are written in the Constitution. The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular, and social rule of law. There has been a growing stance against the secular character of the state nowadays. I did not want to give a chance to that. There are such measures not only in Turkey but also in France and Germany.” On what was the method of writing the invitation letters, Sezer said, “I do not know the method. There may be some mistakes by the officials.”
Erdogan: We Need To Unite
Regarding the low number of AKP deputies in the reception, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said, “Most of our friends are not in Ankara since Parliament has been closed. Nevertheless party administrators, the Cabinet, and Ankara deputies are here.” On the controversy over turban, Erdogan said, “I believe that it is time for us to unite. I will work to that end. I think we will talk about these issues with the President when we have time. However, since I will go to Kars, our regular meeting will not take place this week.” When a female journalist asked Erdogan, “What does your wife think? Is she sad?” Erdogan replied, “Put yourself in the shoes of my wife and think that way.”
Full Support From Ozkok To Sezer
On the same issue, Chief of Joint Staff Hilmi Ozkok said, “The President is a very high personality. It is not appropriate for me to comment on this issue. However he has always done the best. If he deemed something right, then that is right.”
Erdogan: There Can Be No Hatred In Politics
Regarding the crisis of reception, following the fast-breaking meal, to which he invited journalists on Wednesday, Prime Minister Erdogan said, “There is no place for hatred in politics. We are governing a state. Of course we do not want to see such pictures. Even though we see, we will continue to serve our country together. Because we cannot tolerate any damage over this country.”
Sole Warm Message
The sole warm contact between Erdogan and Sezer took place when Erdogan told Sezer, who hurt his waist, that he wished him to recover as soon as possible. Erdogan also told Sezer that since he would go to Kars on Thursday their regular meeting would not take place, and Sezer responded, “OK we will meet later.”
90% Of AKP Did Not Attend
More than 90% of the AKP group composed of 368 deputies, did not attend the October 29 reception in the Cankaya (Presidential) Kiosk, which was shadowed by the controversies over turban. Together with Erdogan, 16 ministers and 18 deputies from AKP attended the reception, while all Republican People's Party (CHP) deputies were there.
The sole turbaned guest of the reception was the wife of the Military Attache of the Pakistani Embassy in Ankara.