İYİ MP resigns from party after remarks on Sheikh Said

Turkish opposition İYİ Party lawmaker Salim Ensarioğlu has resigned from his party after facing a disciplinary action regarding his remarks in favor of Sheikh Said, a controversial Kurdish figure of the early Republican period.

Photo: AA

Duvar English

Turkish right-wing opposition İYİ (Good) Party Istanbul lawmaker Salim Ensarioğlu on Dec. 15 announced his resignation from the party following his remarks regarding Sheikh Said, a controversial Kurdish figure of the early Republican period.

In a statement on social media, Ensarioğlu said the party’s decision to initiate a disciplinary action against him regarding his remarks in favor of Sheikh Said showed that the İYİ Party “no longer carries its center-right claim.”

“This attitude shows that the party has deviated from its founding philosophy of nationalist, developmental and democratic identity and has no tolerance for different views and democratic identity. For this reason, the political reasons that brought the İYİ Party and me together have disappeared. I will never refrain from defending the truths I believe in, no matter the cost,” he said.

“I was lynched on social media by fascist groups, especially my own party members,” he added.

The trustee mayor of southeastern Diyarbakır province naming a street after Sheikh Said led to a new row between the government and the opposition in Turkey.

Sheikh Said was executed in 1925 after facing a trial in the Independence Tribunal for leading a Kurdish nationalist rebellion against the newly founded Republic.

The İYİ Party on Dec. 12 initiated a disciplinary action against Ensarioğlu who deemed Sheikh Said “One of the most important values of our region.”

“We reject (Ensarioğlu’s remarks), which is contrary to the spirit of the Independence War and the historical and national realities set forth by the founding will of the Republic of Turkey,” the party’s spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu said.

Regarding Sheikh Said, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel said “If the pain caused during the suppression of this rebellion hurts some descendants today, that pain must be respected. But, we need to learn from history. If the founding cadres of the Republic experienced some discomforts and sorrows in a place where there were no communication facilities like today, where it was not possible to follow orders, it is not the place of anyone to attribute this to (Mustafa Kemal) Atatürk and to put it on the back of the CHP as a burden.”

With the foundation of the Republic in 1923, Atatürk became the President until his death in 1938. The CHP remained in power between 1923-1950, mostly in a single party regime, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and İsmet İnönü. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Galip Ensarioğlu said “Some consider the incident that started in 1925 as a rebellion, others as a provocation. Sheikh Said is a great scholar, an opinion leader. The real separatist one is this racist mentality. No one should accuse Kurds of separatism.”