Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appointed former Deputy Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç as a member of the Presidential Higher Advisory Board, Turkish media reports said on Tuesday.
Arınç, who also served as spokesperson for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the past, has not been in active politics for four years. He was last elected to parliament in 2009.
“Some people said I was finished. Now I’ll be near our president; he will chair the higher advisory board, and I’ll be a member of it. This kind of job is awarded for loyalty, not sycophancy,” said Arınç, responding to his critics.
His remarks came during a fast-breaking dinner in his hometown of Manisa on Monday evening.
Arınç is the first member of the Presidential Higher Advisory Board, which was established with a presidential decree on May 15.
He recently came to public attention with his criticism of several AKP figures such as former President Abdullah Gül, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former minister Ali Babacan, who are reportedly making preparations for the establishment of a new political party.