MHP leader takes interior minister’s side in Uludere controversy

MHP leader takes interior minister’s side in Uludere controversy

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli addresses his deputies in Parliament. (Photo: AA)

May 29, 2012, Tuesday/ 12:30:00

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has lent support to Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin in an ongoing controversy over his comments on a botched airstrike by the Turkish military late last year in northern Iraq, saying recent remarks by the minister are a “source of relief.”

“Taking on the interior minister instead of the separatist terrorist organization does nothing other than help the cause of the [Kurdistan Workers' Party] PKK. The move by the minister in question was a relief for us. He is performing his duties with good intentions, although he seems to have made mistakes in terms of style,” he said during his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.

Interior Minister Şahin sparked a controversy last week when he referred to the victims of the botched airstrike as “extras” for the PKK. The interior minister criticized the local people

of Uludere, saying the 34 civilians killed in the airstrike were smuggling goods from bordering Iraq when they were attacked.

His remarks drew widespread criticism and even from some in his own party. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Hüseyin Çelik said Şahin's approach to the issue is not “humane.”

“We think this approach and style by Mr. Minister is not humane. It is also clear that the style and approach of Mr. Minister does not belong to the AK Party,” Çelik said.

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