Erdogan's words on ex-spy chief show his heed, trust: Turkish PM

Davutoglu says president's disapproval of resignation of Hakan Fidan to run in June elections is a sign of trust and importance he put in the former intelligence chief

Davutoglu says president's disapproval of resignation of Hakan Fidan to run in June elections is a sign of trust and importance he put in the former intelligence chief

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's reaction to ex-intelligence agency chief Hakan Fidan's candidacy in the upcoming general election indicates the importance he attached to Fidan and his post.

"The comments that our president voiced show the value and confidence he placed in both Fidan and the Undersecretariat of National Intelligence Organization," he told a live interview on Turkey's state broadcaster TRT on Wednesday evening.

Fidan resigned his post late on Friday as head of Turkish National Intelligence Organization, or MIT, to stand in as an MP in the June 7 parliamentary elections, Davutoglu's office announced.

Fidan held his post since May 2010, after serving as deputy undersecretary for Erdogan when he was prime minister.

He has been an influential figure in Turkey and made headlines several times mainly related to Turkey's solution process and its Middle East policy.

Before departing for his three-stop Latin America visit on Sunday, President Erdogan made clear at a press conference at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport that he did not have a favorable opinion of Fidan's candidacy, whom he always called as "privy to his and the state's secrets." 

Erdogan also said it is not up to him but the premier to decide on Fidan's candidacy, which was confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc after Wednesday's Council of Ministers' meeting.

Arinc said that Fidan's resignation and decision to run should not be considered as a crisis, because Davutoglu approved his decision.

Asked his opinion about Fidan, Davutoglu said he believed the outgoing intelligence chief is a friend of his who provided a great service to the Turkish state and will continue to do so.

He added that Fidan has the right to voice the opinion about his future and that is why he respected his decision and will take the necessary steps for his candidacy.

In a previous interview on a private TV channel on Feb. 5, Davutoglu also praised Fidan as being "trustworthy and brave."

The premier also touched upon his government's fight against the "parallel state," a group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials nestled within key institutions of the state, such as the police and the judiciary, allegedly formed by the U.S.-based Gulen movement.

The Gulen movement is accused of masterminding an illegal organization trying to topple the Turkish government through this "parallel state."

Davutoglu emphasized that the "parallel structure" poses a threat not only to his ruling Justice and Development, or AK Party, but also to the functioning of the state itself.

He further stated that his government is fighting a battle against the parallel state both at home and abroad.

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