The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) referred Öztürk Yılmaz, a deputy from eastern Turkey's Ardahan, to the disciplinary committee yesterday for a second time due to his statements against the party administration.
Yılmaz recently caused controversy after he said that the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer which is delivered in Arabic, should be read in Turkish.
In face of a backlash, he was referred to disciplinary committee last week. Yılmaz, however, retaliated by criticizing the party administration, saying that the chairman cannot force him to resign.
The party's Central Executive Board (MYK) convened yesterday, under incumbent party Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. In the meeting, the CHP decided to refer Yılmaz to the disciplinary committee for a second time. It proposed to punish Yılmaz, accusing him of "contributing to political activities and actions contrary to the basic principles of the party." Reportedly, the decision was taken unanimously.
Yılmaz had previously told a TV program that the adhan should be recited in Turkish and he wanted his "language to be spoken everywhere."
The CHP, however, said that Yılmaz's words do not represent the CHP's views and it was completely against an idea that contradicts people's common values. It referred Yılmaz to the disciplinary committee on Thursday for making the controversial remarks.
Speaking to Hürriyet daily over the issue, Kılıçdaroğlu said, "The CHP has its own program, election declarations and discourses. If you want to put your own thoughts into the words, you need to leave the party."
He added, "Everyone can think differently, we discuss these differences openly in our relevant councils. However, you can't explain your own thought as if it was a corporate thought."
Following the referral, Yılmaz had told a press conference that the disciplinary proceedings "are wrong and unlawful," and blamed Kılıçdaroğlu of not being able to run the party.
"He [Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu] is censoring his own parliamentarians; within his own party - this cannot be the CHP's policy. There can be no such policy of remaining in power within the party while losing all the elections," Öztürk said.
The CHP faced a massive defeat in the June 24 presidential and parliamentarian elections garnering only 22.6 percent of the votes, a significantly lower level of support compared to the previous elections. This was the ninth straight election defeat under Kılıçdaroğlu, who took the party helm in 2011.
Since then, intraparty criticism against Kılıçdaroğlu has not quieted down as dissidents called on Kılıçdaroğlu, who they see as responsible for the repeated failures, to step down and started a petition to convene an extraordinary party convention.