Turkish ruling party deputy hits back at critics after condemning police violence

A member of parliament for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has hit back after receiving criticism for condemning police brutality, Turkish independent news site T24 reported on Friday.

Police intervened on protests in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority provinces of Mardin, Van and Diyarbakır against the removal on Monday of newly-elected Kurdish mayors from their posts. The mayors were suspended over their alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and have been replaced with government appointees.

Mustafa Yeneroğlu, an AKP deputy for Istanbul, criticised the police response after images emerged showing officers beating a young protester with their clubs and repeatedly striking him on the head.

He called the incident "horrible", adding that the offending officers should be removed and prosecuted.

But his remarks were not welcomed by various social media users. Far-right National Movement Party (MHP) lawmaker Cemal Enginyurt took a step further, calling him "PKK lover" and demanding his dismissal from the AKP.

Yeneroğlu hit back at his critics, doubling down on his criticism of the police action, which he called unlawful.

"Patriots defend the rule of law. One can not be a patriot if defends lawlessness. Because lawlessness legitimates illegality and thus undermines the rule of law.," Yeneroğlu tweeted on Friday.

Overlooking lynching culture and unlawful violence plays into the hands of terrorist organisations whose aim is to destroy the rule of law, Yeneroğlu said.