Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 11:20
Labour faction leaves Kapelle council over party's refusal to respond to Erdogan statements
Joyce Bommer and Cees van Ruiten, the two PvdA members on the city council of the Zeeland municipality Kapelle, are stepping down. They are doing so in protest against how the PvdA responded to pro-Erdogan statements made by other PvdA member Bayram Erbisim, the Volkskrant reports. Erbisim is a city councilor for the PvdA in Terneuzen. Last month he said to Nieuwsuur that he understands the way Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to an attempted coup in the country in July. He also said that he would vote for Erdogan's AK Party if he was in Turkey, "because the AKP brought Turkey to develop in recent years". Finally he added that the 80 thousand people arrested since the failed coup is a small number in a country with 80 million residents. Bommer and Van Ruiten feel that with these statements, Erbisim is whitewashing the torture taking place without any kind of court ruling in Turkey after the coup. They are also dumbfounded that the national PvdA did not take hit to task for his statements. According to them, the regional party also refused to put the issue on the agenda. "This is not the PvdA we chose", the two say. "the self critical capacity has fallen to record lows. What does this party stand for?" The two councilors therefore decided to step down, thereby meaning that the entire PvdA faction is stepping out of the Kapelle city council. They will not continue in the council under a different name, but made their seats available to the party. Three weeks ago GroenLinks dropped Ilhan Tekir, GroenLinks city councilor in Gorinchem, out of the party for making similar statements.