Senior Kurdish founding figure resigns from Turkey’s ruling AKP

Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, a senior member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has announced that he will step down from Turkey’s ruling party.

Fırat, one of the founders of the AKP, made the announcement on his Facebook page.
“I am stepping down from the AKP, of which I am among one of the founders, and I will provide some details for my reasons soon,” Fırat said.

Fırat stepped down as an AKP Deputy Chair in Nov. 8, 2008, as a reaction to his party’s policies towards the Kurdish issue. Until then, he was seen as a senior member of the party alongside Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Speaking to daily Hürriyet, Fırat said: “the contract between society and the party has now been annulled.”

“When a party is founded, its program is a sort of social contract with the voters. You put your targets on paper. Everybody agrees and a political party is formed. Now, if the conditions of this contract are not realized, then this contract is annulled,” he said.

Fırat added that the party had listed its targets and ideals in its code, but “failed to meet most of them, and in fact did the exact opposite of some of them,” citing the “presidential system,” as an example of the AKP’s failures.

“In the works for a new charter around 2007 and 2008, there was a focus on the parliamentary system, not the presidential system. And there was a limit to the President’s authority,” he said. “Then we should ask, what has changed, was there a need for things to change? For me, the [social] contract between society and the AKP is annulled.”

Fırat was also known for his public debates with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who has accused the former AKP Deputy Chair of being corrupt.

Despite these claims, Fırat has been critical of the AKP since the graft probe came to light on Dec. 17, 2013, stating that the allegations surrounding four former Cabinet ministers and some people close to Prime Minister Erdoğan, “could not be covered.”

Last week, Fırat announced he would be voting for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) candidate Selahattin Demirtaş, and not Erdoğan, in the upcoming presidential elections.

Fırat has joined a list of important political figures, including Hakan Şükür, Ertuğrul Günay and İdris Bal, to resign from the AKP since December last year.

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