Ruling AKP moves to expel dissenting deputy
'I believe that the closure of prep schools will be politically harmful,' Deputy İdris Bal had said. AA photo
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has launched the required procedural process for expelling a deputy who openly expressed views contrary to those of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about plans for closing down test prep schools.
AKP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Ahmet Aydın, speaking to Anadolu Agency on Nov. 21, said deputy İdris Bal had been sent to the Joint Disciplinary Board of the party, with request of definite expulsion from both the party and the parliamentary group. The request came as a result of Bal's "remarks that have been published in the press and which have been against party policies.”
According to the regulations, Bal will not be able to participate in any party activities, including weekly parliamentary group meetings, until a final decision by the Board is announced. The decision will be made after Bal presents his defense.
Bal's attitude 'unacceptable,' PM says
Erdoğan, meanwhile, accused Bal of breaching the party’s internal discipline more than once, despite having been warned on the matter previously. “If someone wants to be involved in politics as a member of particular political party, they are obliged to comply with the policies of that party. If he then becomes a candidate, he must observe internal party rules and regulations,” Erdoğan said Nov. 21 before his departure to Russia, adding that he had received a report about Bal.
“If you have confidence in yourself, you can run as an independent candidate. But you can't have confidence in yourself, run for a party, and then not comply with internal party rules, this is unacceptable,” Erdoğan added.
Bal, approached by Anadolu Agency after Aydın’s announcement, said he had yet to be personally notified of the expulsion order.
“I had serious concerns over the policy regarding prep schools. That must have triggered it,” he said, reiterating his objection.
“I believe that closure of prep schools will be politically harmful. It may lead to problems with regards to equality of opportunity as well. I also had concerns regarding the resolution process,” Bal added, referring to the government-led process aimed at ending the three-decade old conflict between the security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “These may be the reason for my being sent to the discipline board,” he said.
Bal said he did not plan to resign for the moment and would make his mind up after he received the written notification about the party’s move.
The prep schools controversy is not the only issue on which Bal’s view has diverged from the party and Prime Minister Erdoğan.
Most recently, in early November, Bal questioned Erdoğan’s suggestion that new regulations could be drawn up to stop male and female students from living together, raising question marks over steps that might violate people’s private lives.
“Is the next step intervening in the lives of couples who live together without getting married?” Bal asked, speaking to a group of reporters in Parliament. “Will we also intervene if a university student couple continues living together after they graduate?”
Earlier, in late summer, Bal sparked reactions from several corners when a report by the Eurasia Global Research Center (AGAM) argued that Erdoğan had been "misinformed" during the Gezi Park protests and the redevelopment project was not handled in a democratic way.
Bal is the chair of the AGAM.