Selin Sayek Böke resigned as spokesperson and deputy head for opposition party CHP on Saturday, citing the need for “different voices within the party.”
As part of her resignation statement, which was released on social media, Böke referred to the the injustice of accepting the results of the April 16 referendum, which she said was “usurped through illegal means.” Because of this, she said, she would step down as spokesperson and deputy head but would still fulfil her responsibilities as lawmaker in the party.
The “yes” camp for the April referendum only won by a narrow margin, seeking approval for amending the constitution that would enhance the presidential office with enhanced powers. According to international observers, as well as Böke, the count was illegally tipped in the favor of the “yes” camp after a last minute decision was made by the Supreme Election Council to accept unmarked ballots.
Shortly following the vote, Böke was caught in an intra-party row in which she said that the CHP should boycott Parliament in the event that correct legal action wasn’t taken to ensure that the results were correctly counted. While she received the support from some members of Parliament, CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu did not take to this idea stating that leaving Parliament was not an option
In her statement, without referring to Kılıçdaroğlu, Böke said that the CHP failed to act in a way on behalf of millions of citizens to ensure democracy in Turkey remained intact. “As a politician who believes in participatory democracy and the universal principles of social democracy, I do not find the mentality of the current administration acceptable at this point. For that reason, I am resigning from my posts of deputy chair and party spokesperson.”
Böke’s high-level resignation reveals cleavages in Turkey’s largest opposition party, something that Kılıçdaroğlu recently said was caused by government interference. The same day as Böke’s resignation, Kılıçdaroğlu spoke at a meeting blaming CHP members for intentionally and unintentionally causing such a shake-up in the party.
“It is me who introduced democracy to this party. No one should be offended by this. And it’s my duty to protect this party. If there is anybody willing to become chairperson, I can help any contender meet with party delegates. But I won’t allow anybody to weaken this party.”