Oktay Vural, who leads the parliamentary group of the Nationalist Movement Party, was accosted by a member of the audience during his last appointment in Britain, which he was visiting Britain for a series of lectures as a guest of ResearchTurkey, the Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey.
The intervention by Figen Kaynak found widespread coverage in Turkey, particularly when she threatened Mr Vural he would not “leave this restaurant in one piece”.
Mrs Kaynak was responding to Mr Vural’s criticism of recent proposals in Turkey for a “pan-Turkish” identity that encompasses Turks and Kurds.
“We are in favour of social unity,” he said. “When the Turkish people came to the region [of Anatolia] they never destroyed anyone, nor did they force a migration. With the exception of special measures during times of war.”
Mrs Kaynak said in response to these words: “What you are saying is not true. Yes, you did force a migration, you forced a migration 20 years, 30 years ago. Why else would be here when our heavenly homeland is over there?”
Mr Vural responded by pointing out his homeland is Diyarbakır and adding: “No-one should commit an injustice towards the Turkish nation. Everyone must realise the value of the Turkish nation.”
During his visitor, Mr Vural also spoke at the Waterloo campus of King’s College and in the House of Commons.
A doctor of economics, Mr Vural was elected as a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) MP from Izmir in 1999. He was made Minister for Transportation in 2011 and left his post one year later, ahead of early elections in 2002. He was re-elected as an MP for Izmir in 2007 and 2011.
He has undertaken several roles at the Parliament such as Chairmanship of the Parliamentary Commissions for Industry, Energy, Information and Technology as well as NATO Parliamentary Assembly membership and Committee for East-West Economies’ Co-Operation.
He currently serves as the Group Deputy Chairman of MHP.