AKP founding member sent to disciplinary board after pro-parliamentary system remarks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Tuesday unanimously agreed to send a founding member and former lawmaker for the party to a disciplinary board following his remarks favouring the parliamentary system.

AKP’s Central Executive Committee, chaired by Erdoğan, has decided to send Mehmet İhsan Arslan, who served intermittently as lawmaker from the southeastern Diyarbakır province between 2002 to 2011, to the disciplinary committee, Duvar news site reported, a move which could lead to his dismissal.

Arslan, whose son Ali İhsan Arslan currently serves as an AKP lawmaker, had told BBC Turkish on Nov. 17 that he believed Turkey would "soon transfer to the parliamentary system,’’ which the country abandoned following the 2018 election that ushered in the presidential system in its place.

During the same interview, Arslan also said the AKP saw the Kurdish peace process - an attempt to end the almost four decades of fighting between Turkeyand the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - as a threat to its political survival.

The presidential system has come under criticism for effectively eliminating the prime minister's post while transferring executive powers to the president, who rules with only limited checks and balances.