It has been rumored in Ankara lately that tension is growing among Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) elites, in particular between the “palace” of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. In return, AKP spokesmen and propagandists reiterated that this false news was manufactured by opposition figures whose only aim was to create “fitna,” an Islamic term for internal strife that roughly corresponds to sedition. Yet, thanks to a series of stunning statements by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, the fitna erupted in a way that nobody could deny.
The first such statement came on March 21, when Arinc criticized Erdogan’s outburst against the government-led “peace process” with Kurdish militants. “[Erdogan’s] statements that ‘I didn’t like it’ or ‘I don’t approve of this and that’ are his emotional remarks,” Arinc told journalists in a surprisingly defiant tone. “It’s the government that is running the country and the responsibility belongs to the government,” he said, sending to Erdogan a clear know-your-limits message.