Erdogan blasts ex-deputy PM Arinc for condemning jailing of Kavala, Demirtas
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday slammed Presidential High Advisory Board member and former deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc over his remarks criticizing the jailing of philanthropist Osman Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas.

Arinc is using the government's judicial reform plans to "set a fire of discord’’ in the country, Birgun newspaper cited Erdogan as saying in an online speech he delivered during a regional congress for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"In recent days, we are witnessing an effort to spark a flame of discord with certain individual statements, which have no relation to us, under the pretext of the emphasis we have placed on (announced) reforms,’’ Erdogan said. "We can never be together with those who have financed the Gezi events and the Kavalas.’’

Arinc on Friday criticized the members of the judiciary for the indictments on the cases of Kavala and Demirtas, accused of charges related to a failed military coup in 2016 and terror link, respectively.

Arinc, a lawyer by training, dismissed the indictments against the pair, saying, “even a child would not write these,’’ while accusing prosecutors of making up “evidence-based on suspicion.’’ The former deputy prime minister also said he was “amazed’’ that Kavala was behind bars and Demirtas, too, could be released.

In February, businessman Kavala was acquitted of charges related to alleged involvement in the nationwide 2013 Gezi Park protests only to be re-arrested the same day on charges related to the failed military coup of 2016.  Ankara accuses a religious group, the Gulen movement, of orchestrating the failed putsch.

Demirtas, the former chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has been behind bars since November 2016 on a string of terror charges.

Earlier this month, Erdogan announced far-reaching economic and judicial reforms geared towards stabilizing the legal situation and improving the country’s investment climate.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Saturday said Turkey-U.S. relations would be shaped by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s stance and policies on the Gulen movement and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for almost four decades.

"The Biden administration has still not been formed, we will see what happens when it does," the Erdogan aide said during a live broadcast with Turkey’s NTV, noting that the two groups continue to pose a security threat to the country.

Reporter's code: 50101