A lawmaker from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has resigned, prompting a debate within the government.
AKP Istanbul deputy Mustafa Yeneroğlu, whose Twitter posts have drawn attention with being critical of his party’s practices, announced his resignation on Oct. 30.
“I have shared my opinion with the public, inside and outside of the party, that I was uncomfortable about my party’s policies, especially in terms of human rights violations and damages to democratic institutions,” Yeneroğlu told reporters in parliament.
He said he had met the party’s general secretary and told him of his concerns and that the general told him that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wanted his resignation.
“I’m not going to stay in a place that I’m not wanted,” said Yeneroğlu, who was also a member of the party’s Central Decision and Management Board (MKYK).
During his speech, Yeneroğlu said many others in the AKP share his views.
“I know that plenty of our friends feel seriously concerned about Turkey’s future,” he said, adding that the main concerns are about justice and freedom.
‘We’re not expecting resignations’
Yeneroğlu’s remarks stirred debate within the AKP, with the party’s deputy chair Mahir Ünal refuting claims of more resignations.
“Who are those concerned? We’re not expecting resignations,” Ünal said on Oct. 31, adding that Yeneroğlu was a politician that he previously appreciated, but not anymore.
“He was a member of the MKYK, which gathers once a month. If you want to criticize something, you can do it there instead of tweeting,” he also said, while slamming him for talking to the media regarding the AKP’s internal matters.
Yeneroğlu, in return said that he has always voiced his criticisms within the MKYK instead of talking to the media.
“Isn’t denial our biggest problem? Everyone acts in ways that suit them,” he tweeted on Nov. 1.
Upon Yeneroğlu’s resignation, the number of AKP’s seats in parliament decreased to 290.
The resignation came several weeks after former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, both AKP founders, broke with the party, raising the prospect of potential parliamentary defections.
It was not immediately clear whether Yeneroğlu would join either of the breakaway movements.
Arınç slams state of emergency decrees
Another politician among the AKP’s founders, Bülent Arınç, meanwhile, apologized from those sacked from their posts with state of emergency decrees (KHK).
“The KHK is a disaster,” Arınç said on Oct. 31.
Turkey declared a state of emergency following the July 15, 2016 botched coup – widely believed to have been carried out by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
During the two-year-long state of emergency, the government issued decrees that dismissed thousands of people from their jobs.
The rights of those removed from their posts with emergency decrees are significantly limited, with the majority of them suffering from the inability to get another job or traveling abroad.
Although the government said that the decrees were issued as part of its “fight against terror,” the move was slammed for dismissing opposition voices.
During his speech, Arınç said that he “has mercy on those who suffered from this disaster.”
“I’m apologizing from them,” he also said.
“When people are dismissed like this, they can’t go abroad. They also can’t find jobs in the private sector due to being labeled as ‘terrorists.’ They can’t even sell lemons in the market place, because people see them as ‘terrorists,'” he added.