Kemer mayor resigns from MHP amid rift over house offer to family of Russian jet pilot
ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoKemer Mayor Mustafa Gül has resigned from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) after the party sent his name to its disciplinary board demanding his expulsion following his offer to provide a house to the family of the Russian pilot whose plane was shot down by Turkey and who was later killed, allegedly by a Turkish militant fighting in Syria.
Gül, along with 70 other MHP members, including municipal council members, district heads and delegates, sent in their resignations from the party, saying his offer to give a house to the family of the downed jet’s pilot in the district in Antalya was interpreted incorrectly.
“When I learned that the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was going to talk with Russian President Putin on the phone, I thought ‘how I can contribute to tourism?’ With NGOs, we decided to give a house to the killed Russian pilot’s family. This is not something that should be interpreted incorrectly. They know how connected we are to our nation and nationalism,” said Gül, adding that his aim was to contribute to the tourism sector that was hit by the crisis with Russia and terror attacks in Turkey.
Gül added that he did not take this decision as the municipality but as hoteliers.
“By law, it is not possible for us to give a house as a municipality,” added Gül.
“When we took the offer to the Russian consulate in Antalya, we faced a reaction from the MHP. The MHP understood this wrong. They would not think this way if they came to Kemer and saw [the situation of] tourism. We believe the congress process has also had an impact in this. We respect this decision,” said Gül, adding that the offer was received warmly in Kemer and Russia.
Two Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian-made SU-24 jet on Nov. 24, 2015, near the Syrian border after it allegedly violated Turkish airspace. The action prompted a huge crisis between the two countries with Russia imposing bans limiting its citizens’ travel to Turkey. Relations began to improve recently after Turkey initiated a move to mend ties.