Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Mustafa Yeneroğlu, who has recently become an outspoken critic of some of the party’s policies, has announced his resignation from the AKP, according to Turkish media reports.
Yeneroğlu announced his resignation from the party at a news conference in the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday. He was also a member of the party’s Central Executive Board (MYK).
Yeneroğlu said he spoke with the party’s secretary-general, Fatih Şahin, and was told there was agreement within the party that he should resign because his views diverge significantly from those of the party.
The deputy said he would not continue to stay in a place where he is not wanted, adding: “It is impossible for me to stay in place where my principles are not valid, but I’m sure that a majority of the people in the AKP think no differently than me.”
Yeneroğlu apparently has angered the party and its leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with his criticism of widespread human rights violations in Turkey.
In an interview last month he said Turkey has gone outside the law in the trials of followers of the Gülen movement and with the expulsion of thousands of public servants from their jobs in the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016.
Turkey survived a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 following which the AKP government declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on the alleged or real followers of the Gülen movement.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup and labels it a “terrorist organization named Fetö” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
“Those who used to promote Fetö yesterday have now become the executors of it. In these trials and in the processes concerning the KHK [purge] victims, Turkey has gone outside the law,” said Yeneroğlu.
“If the rule of law is not restored, if the fundamental rights and freedoms are not protected, no problem can be resolved in Turkey. … I am looking for the core values of the AKP. There should be self-criticism in politics, and the AKP should question where it made a mistake,” Yeneroğlu added.