Two İYİ Party seniors resign from party in run-up to local elections

Two opposition İYİ Party seniors, Bahadır Erdem and Durmuş Yılmaz, have resigned from the party on the same day. Erdem criticized the decision to field mayoral candidates in all provinces in the upcoming local elections, which would “create new opportunities for the lawless AKP regime.”

This collage shows Bahadır Erdem (L) and Durmuş YIlmaz (R), (BirGün)

Duvar English

General Administrative Board member of the right-wing opposition İYİ Party Bahadır Erdem, and former İYİ Party Deputy Chair and lawmaker Durmuş Yılmaz on Nov. 10 announced their resignations from the party.

Yılmaz, a former central bank chief, announced his resignation from the party via social media.

He told online news outlet Serbestiyet that “All my expectations regarding the goals we wanted to achieve when the İYİ Party was established were. We were going to open a new page in Turkey. We would be accountable and transparent. We would not go beyond the law. We were going to protect the rights of everyone in Turkey but it didn't happen. The opposite happened, everything collapsed.”

He was the Governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey between 2006 and 2011. He was also elected as a lawmakerfrom the İYİ Party in the 2018 general elections but his party did not nominate Yılmaz in 2023.

After Yılmaz, a General Administrative Board member of the İYİ Party, Bahadır Erdem, also announced his resignation, criticizing the party’s decision to field mayoral candidates in all provinces in the local elections to be held on March 31, 2024.

“Unfortunately, the insistence of putting Istanbul and Ankara at risk of remaining in opposition, and when we consider the recent great state crisis, (this decision) creates new opportunities for the lawless AKP regime. In this context, as a politician, a teacher and a lawyer whose goal since the day I joined the İYİ Party has been to change this government and to re-establish democracy and the rule of law in our country, it is not possible for me to accept that the current gains are put at risk,” he said in a statement.

Last week, lawmaker Nebi Hatipoğlu resigned from the İYİ Party and joined the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The party’s chair Meral Akşener previously stated that they will field mayoral candidates in Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities and added that they take the risk of losing both municipalities to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "We did not establish this party to elect CHP's candidates," Akşener said.

Mansur Yavaş and Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), were the first opposition mayors who garnered enough votes in 2019 to gain mayorship in Istanbul and capital Ankara after a long time. In the 2019 local elections, the İYİ Party and opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not field mayoral candidates for Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities.

After the general elections held in 2023, in which the İYİ Party ran with the Nation Alliance, the party started to oppose the alliance system on the grounds that it pushed back the party's identity.

Founded in 2017 by Meral Akşener, İYİ Party is a MHP-breakaway party that aims to garner nationalist and centralist opposition votes.