Retired non-commissioned officers found political party

Retired non-commissioned officers found political party

A group mostly made up of retired non-commissioned officers has formed a new political party called the “AS Parti,” filing the required petition with the Interior Ministry and thus becoming Turkey’s fourth new party to be established in the last few months, ahead of the June parliamentary election.

Speaking to reporters after they filed their petition to the Interior Ministry on Feb. 9, the founding leader of the AS Parti, Cavit Kayıkçı, said they aimed to represent around 200,000 non-commissioned officers on the political stage.

“Among parties that have been founded recently, the AS Parti is the one with the widest grassroots,” Kayıkçı said.

“We are a party that embraces everybody and is respectful of religious, national and moral values,” he added.

The new party is just the latest in a long line of new opposition parties to be established in recent months.

In the second half of November, a group led by former Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin formed a new political party called the “Nation and Justice Party.” In early November, İdris Bal, also a former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker, formed a new center-right party named the Democratic Progress Party (DGP). In mid-November, following her resignation from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Emine Ülker Tarhan filed an application to the Interior Ministry to officially found the “Anadolu Party.”

Non-commissioned officers made headlines in 2007 when the Turkish Retired Noncommissioned Officers Association (TEMAD) filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerning alleged violations of the right to equality and fairness of its members.

They complained that non-commissioned officers, who pay monthly fees to the Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Center (OYAK), are not given access to the OYAK’s administrative and auditing board meetings, or to its general assembly meetings, or to those of its affiliates such as Oyak Bank. They also said non-commissioned officers who have been expelled from the army are not granted their due rights.