Turkish PM criticised over joke that coup was inside job

Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, whose role is about to be abolished in the transition to a presidential system on Sunday, has attracted criticism for joking that the July 2016 coup attempt, in which 248 civilians and security forces were killed, was an inside job.

Yıldırım was asked by interviewers at state news agency Anadolu whether there was a project that was particularly difficult during his time as Prime Minister.

“A project that I didn’t like was July 15,” he said, laughing. “I wish it hadn’t happened. Thank God for our president’s determination and our nation protecting the flag...”

Social media users posted videos of the incident asking if this was a “confession”.

Alican Uludağ, a legal correspondent for opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper, said that Yıldırım had not only joked about July 15 being his own project, but had also said that state of emergency would end after the new cabinet was announced on Monday.

“These statements are each confessions that July 15 and the state of emergency were each vehicles for the construction of Erdoğan’s presidency/new regime,” he said.

Another person surprised by Yıldırım’s comment was opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) advisor Mücahit Avcı.

“Binali Yıldırım replies that ‘A project I didn’t like was July 15’. And I’m on trial for saying that July 15 was a project (of the government)!”