Erdogan storms out of Turkish Bar Union meeting

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan created a furore yesterday when he stormed out of a meeting during a speech being delivered by Turkish Union of Bars President Metin Feyzioglu, Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ has reported.

The irate PM accused Feyzioglu of rudeness for criticising the government during his speech.

Erdogan said, “What you’re saying is wrong,” to the Bar’s head towards the end of the speech which was being made to mark the 146th anniversary of the establishment of the Council of State in Ankara.

When Feyzioglu asked the PM if what he had been saying was inaccurate, Erdogan angrily responded that “This kind of rudeness if impossible”

“I’m not the one who’s being rude, Mr Prime Minister,” the Bar’s president replied.

Erdogan became furious when Feyzioglu criticised the government’s failure to provide permanent settlement to some survivors of the 2011 Van earthquakes. He stressed that many people were still living in the most makeshift conditions in shipping containers.

Standing up and preparing to leave, Erdogan interrupted the speech, saying Turkey’s highest lawyer had “no legal right” to make such comments. “Unfortunately, because of the law, we give a platform to things like this. You’re making a political speech … Everything you said about Van is a lie,” he said.

President Gul, who was seated next to Erdogan tried to calm the PM down, but without success.

“I haven’t been rude,” Feyzioglu said. “I’m not so bold as to tell anyone that they are being rude, Mr Prime Minister. My speech was very inclusive.”

Speaking after the incident, Fevzioglu said that Erdogan’s comments were “saddening.” “I’m saying, ‘let’s embrace each other.’ The prime minister stood up and made extremely saddening comments that superseded the limits of respect by an unfathomable level,” he said.

Speaking hours later, in a conference address a still angry Erdogan said: “These people have no respect. You’re invited to an event. You have no legal right to speak. This gentleman spoke for an hour, while the head of the Council of State spoke for only 25 minutes. He made a completely political speech, which was irrelevant for the occasion. It was just for self-satisfaction. Take off your robe, if you love politics so much,” Erdogan continued, labelling Feyzioglu as “a lost cause.”

Late last month, the prime minister was similarly offended by a speech delivered by head of the Constitutional Court Hasim Kilic, who accused the government of increasing authoritarianism. Erdogan, whose discomfort at the time was clearly, evident left without saying a word at the end of Kilic’s speech.

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