Opposition leader Akşener remains defiant in row over deputy's profane language towards protestor

Turkey's right-wing opposition Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener has said that although MP Lütfü Türkkan had done a mistake by swearing at a protestor last week, his resignation from his position as the group deputy chairman was a sign of his “maturity.”

This collage photo shows Akşener (L) and MP Türkkan along with the protestor in question.

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Opposition Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener has for the first time spoken about the resignation of deputy Lütfü Türkkan as the group deputy chairman after he came under fire for swearing at a protestor in the eastern province of Bingöl.

Akşener said that Türkkan had done “a mistake,” but then “showed maturity in the face of his mistake” by stepping down from his position.

Akşener said that the protestor in question had insulted her using profane language, which is why Türkkan had acted with his “instincts of protection.”

“Although he [protestor in question] was an immoral man, he [Türkkan] should have controlled his instincts of protection and keep his temper. This is what his political experience and position would have required. Unfortunately, it did not happen and he succumbed to his feelings. Of course, we are not going to pardon this mistake,” Akşener said, while addressing her party's lawmakers during a parliamentary group meeting on Nov. 9.

Akşener also slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for criticizing Türkkan by using insulting phrases and showing his video getting into an argument with the protestor. During a press conference after a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 9, Erdoğan referred to Türrkan as a “shameless, rogue” person and “a so-called deputy.”

In the face of Erdoğan's statements, Akşener defended the deputy, saying that he had at least shown the courtesy to resign from his post. She said that lawmakers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were on the other hand “going about with their impudence and hypocrisy.”

“What makes our party İYİ Party is not the mistakes done, but what is shown afterwards; that is what maturity is. This is exactly what differentiates our politics from that of the AKP. When they are trying to rise to the top when making mistakes, are blaming others, we take on the responsibility when we have a mistake,” Akşener said.

A man claiming to be a relative of a person killed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) protested Akşener last week in Bingöl.

"I'm the relative of a martyr. My brother was killed," the man Tahir Gümren told Türkkan on Nov. 5, before going on to slam Akşener for "defending" the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

"This woman defends the HDP," Gümren said, prompting Türkkan to swear at him. 

Türkkan said that Gümren, who previously received a sentence for insulting Akşener on social media, was at the scene for provocation. 

Upon backlash, Türkkan apologized to the public for swearing at the man and later resigned from his post as the deputy chairman of İYİ Party.