ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Just a day after Elazığ deputy Feyzi İşbaşaran resigned from the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Ankara deputy Zekai Özcan criticized his party over the ongoing Kurdish move.
“If I do not speak [about this], I would be shirking my duty,” Özcan said, according to daily Hürriyet’s Web site.
İşbaşaran resigned Saturday on the grounds that the AKP wanted “to silence” him. Party leaders had recently launched an inquiry into statements he made about the police department.
“It became impossible to resume my duties in a party that silences and blackmails deputies who express their thoughts, just like me,” he said.
Özcan’s criticism of the ruling party focused heavily on the government’s Kurdish initiative. Arguing that the government’s move legitimatized the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, Özcan said the imprisoned chieftain of the terrorist organization was seen as a party of the peace process. “It was very unfair as it aimed to tarnish our armed forces,” Özcan said.
The AKP deputy said calling the move the “Kurdish initiative” was the gravest mistake, a criticism directed at Interior Minister Beşir Atalay, who is also coordinating the move.
“In fact, the real focus should be given to eliminating our democratic deficit,” Özcan said. “Emphasizing ethnic groups and especially insisting on the Kurdish ethnicity to solve the problem turned the process into a mistake.”
Özcan said it was not only the pro-Kurdish deputies but also some of his party members who sabotaged the move. Criticizing Ayşenur Bahçekapılı, deputy head of the AKP’s parliamentary group, for her proposal to remove the concept of Turkishness from the Constitution, Özcan said such thinking would break what he called “the crystal vase,” or the unity of the state.
İşbaşaran announced his resignation from the AKP on Saturday after party leaders launched a probe against him. The Elazığ deputy argued that some circles in the police department were trying to damage ties between the government and the military.
İşbaşaran also said he had received death threats. “If something happens to me, Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan will be responsible for this,” he said.