Ayva quits AK Party’s MKYK in protest of low number of disabled candidates

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Lokman Ayva, who is blind, resigned from the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Central Decision and Administration Board (MKYK) on Sunday in protest of the low number of disabled candidates nominated by his party in the March 30 local elections.

Ayva, a former AK Party deputy, became the first blind parliamentarian in Turkey’s history. He was also a founding member of the AK Party.

Ayva said that he had decided to resign from the MKYK on Feb. 18 but waited until after the municipal elections to officially announce his resignation. According to Ayva, the party administration had pledged to nominate at least one disabled candidate for each city council in every Turkish province in the March 30 elections, but did not keep its promise. “If they [the party administration] avoid giving even one seat to a disabled person in city councils, then they are free to take my seat at the party’s MKYK,” Ayva told the media.

According to Ayva, the “golden age” for the disabled in politics, which began with the establishment of the AK Party in 2001, ended in February 2014 ahead of the local elections. “In 2001, two of the AK Party’s 74 founding members were disabled. In 2004, there were 15 disabled members of city councils in Istanbul’s municipalities. This number dropped to 13 in 2009. This number is now only four after the latest elections,” he said.

Ayva said that the gradual decrease in the number of disabled members in city councils means that there is no reason for him to keep his seat at the AK Party’s MKYK.

(CihanToday’s Zaman) C