“The abbreviated form of Justice and Development Party is AK Parti, not AKP. It is compulsory for everybody to write it this way. Those who are not writing it in this way, they are devoid of manners. You are obliged to refer to me by my legal name. Otherwise it’s slander,” exploded Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting of mayors in Ankara.
Mentioning his party as AKP in democratically unethical because in the foundation documents at the Supreme Court, his party’s title is initialed as AK Parti, he argued.
“AK represents there immaculacy. It expresses both justice and development. AK has introduced cleanliness to the politics in our country. No doubt we do not respect those who say AKP,” explained Erdogan.
By the way, “Ak” means “White” in the Turkish language.
Erdogan’s harangue sparked yet another absurd exchange of angry words between Turkey’s politicians.
Deniz Baykal, the leader of the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) reacted to Erdogan from Nigde, where he was on a visit.
“Let us both lift the parliamentary immunity and see who is white and who is black,” retorted Baykal.
“Anybody can say whatever he likes; you have accepted it for seven years, why are you complaining now?” Baykal asked.
Later in the week Baykal on went on pursuing the argument. “It seems that as the party gets increasingly soiled, they feel the need to emphasize the fact that they are white,” said Baykal addressing his deputies in the parliament.
Second person singular, second person plural
“You cannot address a party leader in the second person singular,” Erdogan continued the fight over language, addressing himself to Baykal at his party’s local congress in Kayseri.
“I am addressing you as ‘sayin,’ (an expression in Turkish that roughly means ‘respectable’ in addressing another person) but you are addressing me as ‘sen’ (in second person singular),” complained Erdogan.
Speaking at his party group meeting in the Parliament Baykal replied to Erdogan, “When you become ‘sayin’ I will call you that.”
“Tayyip Erdogan is the rudest prime minister Turkey has ever had. Not only towards us, he is rude to citizens, women, children, farmers, old and young. Because this is his style,” said Baykal.
“You had also called Abdullah Ocalan (the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish Separatist PKK) ‘sayin’ so I don’t need you to address me in that way,” said Baykal.
Baykal was referring to an old interview given by Erdogan to an Australian broadcaster in which he let slip the word ‘sayin’ when he was mentioning Ocalan. This became one of the major headaches of the Turkish prime minister for some years.
It seems, semantics has become one of the major contentions of political rivalry in Turkey, as if the nation has solved all of its problems.