Turkey’s justice minister caught up in ruling party infighting 

Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul has become embroiled in a a spat with a clique of the ruling party over various appointments within the ministry.

The Pelican clique, which is known for its declaration that caused a former prime minister to resign in 2016, has apparently been targeting Gul, an opposition lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Posting a series of tweets on his personal account, Ahmet Sik, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a former journalist, said the dispute between Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and the Pelicanists was escalating following appointments and reshuffles in the ministry.

The lawmaker said early signals of the conflict within Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came from Dilek Gungor, a columnist at daily Sabah which is owned by the Albayrak Group, known as a center for the Pelican group.

On Tuesday, the columnist wrote that strange things were happening in the judiciary. She claimed that members of the Gulen Movement were infiltrating the groups which have been taking control of the judicial institutions in recent days.

“Nobody can realize the great danger in the judiciary,” said Gungor.

Some, known as Pelicanists such as Cem Kucuk, Fuat Ugur, Hilal Kaplan, Selman Ogut, have also voiced similar allegations on the same day, backing Gungor.

Late on Tuesday, those close to the minister counter-attacked the Pelicanists on Twitter through a social media hashtag #AbdulhamitiYedirmeyiz (#WeKeepAbdulhamit).

The minister’s supporters tweeted that the Pelican “traitors” were plotting against the minister prior to a possible reshuffle in the council of ministers.

On Wednesday, the minister also responded to the Pelicanist claims without mentioning their naming explicitly.

Those, who ate the same meal with FETO members up until recently, should not dare to lecture us on struggling with FETO, and not to attack the noble and honorable Turkish judiciary,” said the minister.

FETO is an abbreviation which was formed up by the AKP government to describe the Gulen Movement as a terrorist organization following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

HDP’s Sik warned that the friction within the AKP circles would be deepen during the coming days.

“The AKP is swiftly heading towards its inevitable end,” Sik claimed.

The Pelican clique first became known in 2016 when it released a declaration that listed the dissenting points between Erdogan and then prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Davutoglu resigned from his post as prime minister shortly after the declaration, which was later called “the Pelican file” with a reference to a John Grisham political thriller.

The Pelicanists are widely believed to be centered around the Bosphorus Global think tank, chaired Suheyb Ogut, the husband of Columnist Hilal Kaplan at daily Sabah and the brother of Academic Selman Ogut.

In August, Erdogan paid a visit to the Bosphorus Global which was interpreted by many as a sign of the Pelicanists’ continuing influence on the party and its leader.

Earlier this month, a criminal complaint has been filed by two lawyers against the influential clique within the ruling party with the accusation of being a terrorist organization.

The complaint came after Erdogan’s AKP unanimously agreed on September 2 to send its former leader and PM Davutoglu, together with three other AKP lawmakers, to a disciplinary board with the intention to dismiss them.

Last week, Davutoglu announced his resignation from the AKP, saying he would launch a new political movement.

Influential think tank in Turkey’s ruling party accused of being terrorist organization

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