Arınç resigns from presidential council amid judicial row with Erdoğan

Former Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has resigned from the High Advisory Council of the Presidency amid a row with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over two high-profile prisoners, T24 news site reported on Tuesday.

Arınç cited as the reason for the resignation the challenge that may be posed to the announced judicial reform process by his recent remarks criticising the jailing of prominent Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş and a philanthropist Osman Kavala.

Erdoğan on Sunday slammed Arınç over his remarks, accusing the former deputy prime minister of using the government's judicial reform plans to "set a fire of discord’’ in the country, while dismissing the release of Kavala and Demirtaş.

Former chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Demirtaş, has been in prison for more than four years while Kavala, a philanthropist accused of helping organise the coup attempt of July 2016, has been jailed for more than three years.

"I have decided that is best I resign from my duty as High Advisory Council member,’’ Arınç said, "as I am worried that my remarks, which have been taken into different directions through individuals, will prevent reform efforts.’’  

Earlier this month, Erdoğan announced far-reaching economic and judicial reforms geared towards stabilising the legal situation and improving the country’s investment climate.