İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener has ousted party’s deputies who made a public show of respect to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli during a swearing-in ceremony in Parliament, the Sözcü daily reported on Sunday.
“Those who adhere to our principles can stay with us; those who do not will leave the İYİ Party immediately,” Akşener said.
The new legislative term in Parliament was officially opened when newly elected deputies were sworn in on Saturday.
Two İYİ Party members, Müsavat Dervişoğlu, also the vice chairperson of the party, and Hayati Arkaz went to where Bahçeli was sitting and kissed his hand, a gesture of respect to elders in Turkish culture.
After other İYİ Party officials criticized them, the deputies defended themselves, saying they were just showing “political politeness.”
Akşener, once a rising star in the MHP, and her supporters left the MHP after Bahçeli prevented Akşener from competing against him at the party convention to elect a new chairman. When Akşener founded the İYİ Party, Bahçeli harshly criticized and even insulted defectors who joined it.
“I know what political politeness is. Paying respect to someone who even insulted the honor of the chairperson is not political politeness,” Akşener said.
Also Hakan Ünser, an advisor to Akşener, said the gesture was “shameful.”