AKP officials say they find it wrong to discuss election schedule after Arınç's postponement remarks

AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik and deputy chairperson of the party in charge of election affairs İhsan Yavuz have said it is not the time to discuss elections. They made the remarks day after AKP’s heavyweight and former deputy prime minister Bülent Arınç called for the postponement of elections in the aftermath of two major earthquakes that shook Turkey’s southeastern region on Feb. 6 and sparked debates on "self-coup."

This collage shows AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik (L), AKP former deputy PM Arınç (C), and AKP deputy chair Ali İhsan Yavuz (R).

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Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik on Feb. 14 stated that it is not the time to discuss anything related to the elections while they focus on rescuing citizens from the rubble. He also added that these kinds of discussions are not related to their party. 

"Right now we are struggling to save our lives from the rubble and struggling to heal the wounds. We find it very wrong to talk about anything related to the election. We do not find it right in any way. We have only one agenda today. How do we save these lives? How to heal these wounds? How do we continue to be with our citizens who are homeless outside?" Çelik said. 

Ali İhsan Yavuz, AKP deputy chairperson in charge of electoral affairs, said his party had not discussed anything about the election. 

“We are in the midst of saving lives right now. So far, we haven't talked about anything related to the election, not even a speck of dust. We would be ashamed to talk about it. We are all in the earthquake zone. Talking about this in the midst of this disaster is absurd and an insult to the lives of our citizens. Those who talk about this are trying to confuse people,” Yavuz was quoted as saying by the daily Hürriyet. 

These remarks came after AKP’s heavyweight and former spokesperson Bülent Arınç on Feb. 13 said: “Elections must be postponed immediately. It's not a choice; it's a necessity.”

In his statement released on Twitter, Arınç said it is not the time to hold elections due to the crisis occurring in the country’s southeastern region after two major quakes. 

Arınç’s statement stirred a huge reaction among opposition politicians as they deemed his remarks a call for a "self-coup" or a "civilian coup."

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Feb. 14 addressed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and said “the election will be held on time!”

Erdoğan on Jan. 18 had signaled that the presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on May 14, which is normally scheduled to be held in June.