Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has slammed former President Abdullah Gül over his remarks on a controversial meeting held in 2018.
In June 2018, Kalın and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited Gül, landing in the military area near the garden of Gül’s office in Istanbul’s Ayazağa with a helicopter.
The visit reportedly took place upon the orders of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who asked Kalın and Akar to tell Gül to not be a presidential candidate in the June 24, 2018 elections.
In an interview on Feb. 18, Gül told daily Karar that Kalın and Akar received orders to carry out the visit, which topped Turkey’s agenda for days at the time.
“They were told to visit me, so they did. They respectfully listened to what I told them and left,” Gül said.
A short while later, Kalın said that he was saddened by Gül’s remarks.
“We visited him without receiving orders from anyone. We exchanged our opinions,” Kalın told reporters on Feb. 18.
“It was a meeting that both sides voiced their opinions in an open and sincere manner. To say, ‘I told them stuff and sent them away’ is not compatible with reality and our relationship,” he added.
Saying that “dirty scenarios” were written after the meeting, Kalın noted that they visited Gül to share their concerns based on their relationship.
“The things that were written are not true. To adapt that meeting to the political process and conjuncture that they are newly embarking on is not in line with reality,” he said.
Turning to the acquittal of the defendants in the Gezi Park case, Kalın said that people should not forget “the damage caused by the Gezi uprising.”
Gezi Park protests took place in Istanbul’s Taksim in 2013 following harsh government response to a group of protesters trying to prevent the cutting down of trees for a large development project planned by the government. Eight protesters and a police officer was killed during the demonstrations.
On Feb. 18, the Istanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court acquitted nine defendants in the case.
Before the hearing, Gül said that he is proud of the Gezi protests, during which he was the president.
Kalın, meanwhile, didn’t share the same sentiment.
“Mr. Gül can be proud, it’s his opinion. When he was on duty, he had different evaluations and ideas,” Kalın said.