Turkish Deputy PM Bulet Arinc has announced he plans to leave politics at the end of his current term.
In an interview Sunday evening on Kanal 24 television, Arinc said that regulations in the ruling AK Party ban politicians from serving more than three terms in office.
However, he said, “experienced deputies” of the ruling AK (Justice and Development) Party can still run for municipal elections. Nevertheless, Arinc said in the interview he is not planning to run for mayor of any city. “I will take a break and if possible, I will leave politics,” he said, according to the Today’s Zayman newspaper.
It was Arinc who, together with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, hosted the families of the people who were killed aboard the illegal Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel to discuss the delicate issue of Israeli compensation payments recently, and negotiations with Jerusalem over the incident that for the past three years has caused a rift in Turkish-Israeli diplomatic and military ties.
Arinc co-founded the ruling AK Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi) together with current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2001. He was appointed deputy Prime Minister in Erdogan’s second cabinet in May 2009, and has continued to serve into the third and current cabinet, which came into office in 2011.
Media analysts have speculated that a cabinet shuffle may be coming up in the near future, with the job of dealing with the Kurdish population and delicate task of negotiating with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) terror group) being handed over to Arinc.
The deputy prime minister is seen by the Turkish public as the quintessential Anatolian Islamist, one who is “much closer to the domestic tradition,” one of the “wise men” in the AK Party according to a December column by Today’s Zayman writer Emre Uslu.
Tensions with the tri-state Kurdish world in the Middle East have flared over recent weeks due to disputes over oil and gas resources in Iraq, the savage civil war raging in Syria and the way those conflicts have affected the loyalties of the Kurdish population in southeastern Turkey, which numbers more than 14 million people.
Although Kurds in all three countries dream of an independent state of Kurdistan, Kurdish leaders acknowledge it is unlikely one will emerge independent of Iraq, Syria and Turkey anytime in the near future. The ability to negotiate a workable relationship between the Kurdish population and the Turkish government without the threat of terrorism is the challenge that may face Arinc in the near future.