Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has accused deputies of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the right-wing Good (İYİ) Party of "relying on coups" after they slammed the government's frustration at a statement released by retired admirals.
"The most important thing that they have in common is being against the people," Altun tweeted on April 4, as he shared screenshots of the opposition deputies' tweets on the former soldiers' statement.
Ortak oldukları en önemli nokta Hakk’ın ve halkın karşısında olmak.— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) April 4, 2021
Aziz milletimizden hiçbir zaman icazet alamadıkları için en ufak darbe söylentisine bile heyecanla el sallıyorlar. Hala darbelerden medet umuyorlar.
Bir kere de millî iradeden ve demokrasiden yana olun! pic.twitter.com/a0NsoIAzRU
A total of 104 former admirals on April 3 urged the government to rule out withdrawing from the Montreux Convention, an 85-year-old maritime accord, in a declaration.
Top government officials on April 4 accused the retired soldiers of suggesting a coup in their declaration, prompting prosecutors to issue detention warrants for 14 of its signatories. Ten of the retired admirals were detained on April 5 over "conspiring against state security and constitutional order."
The retired military personnel had voiced concern over Montreux - which they said was strategically important for Turkey's maritime security - given President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's authority to withdraw from such pacts, and his move last month to ditch an international accord meant to prevent violence against women, the Istanbul Convention.
The statement came as the government moves forward with plans to construct Kanal Istanbul, a massive canal connecting the Black Sea north of Istanbul to the Sea of Marmara to the south, parallel to the Bosphorus strait.
A Turkish official has said the Montreux Convention would not cover the canal.
Montreux, signed in 1936, gives Turkey control over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits within its borders, and during peacetime guarantees access for civilian vessels. It also limits access of naval warships and governs foreign cargo ships.
"Montreux provided Turkey the possibility to maintain its neutrality during World War II," said the statement by the retired military officials.
Altun on April 4 said that opposition deputies "get excited even at the slightest coup rumor since they are never approved by the people."
"Be on the side of national will and democracy for once!" he said.
Turkey's military staged three coups between 1960-1980 and pressured the first Islamist-led government out of power in 1997. The secularist armed forces were once the dominant force in Turkey but Erdoğan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) have eroded their influence since coming to power in 2002.
"The old Turkey doesn't exist anymore. The people's will is stronger than all of your treacherous plans," Altun added.
Artık eski Türkiye yok. Cumhurbaşkanımız sayın @RTErdogan’ın 27 Nisan’da, 7 Şubat’ta, 17/25 Aralık’ta ve 15 Temmuz’da aziz milletmizle birlikte tüm vesayet odaklarını yıkarak inşa ettiği büyük ve güçlü Türkiye var.— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) April 4, 2021
Milletin iradesi sizin tüm hain planlarınızdan daha güçlüdür.
'Fahrettin, do your job'
CHP deputy leader Onursal Adıgüzel slammed Altun's move to form a list of deputies, saying that the move is reminiscent of the practices of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen's network, which is legally called the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
"The only job he does with his 4-5 salaries is to target people by creating lists just like FETÖ. Do your job Fahrettin," Adıgüzel said, referring to the salaries that Altun gets from different institutions.