Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, a senior name in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), unwittingly created a political scandal with his July 29 remarks on TV. His focus was the re-escalated violence between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a terrorist group by the definition of both the Turkish and US governments. Akdogan expressed sadness that the peace process that began with the PKK in early 2013 had failed, and he was holding not just the PKK, but also the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) responsible for the failure.
The scandal arose from a detail Akdogan gave while explaining exactly when the HDP disillusioned the government — or, more precisely, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: When Selahattin Demirtas, the charismatic leader of the HDP, took a bold stance against Erdogan’s great political ambition of an all-powerful presidential system. Demirtas had made his stance clear during his campaign for the June 7 elections by reiterating a simple sentence: “Erdogan, we will not allow you to become president.” According to Akdogan, it was this very sentence that began to tear the peace process apart.