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Calls mount for post-election convention for Turkey's MHP

ANKARA - Daily News Parliament Bureau | 5/25/2011 12:00:00 AM | GÖKSEL BOZKURT

Calls are increasing within the nationalist opposition for a post-election convention to settle an ongoing sex tape scandal that has upset the party's ultranationalists.

Calls are increasing within Turkey’s nationalist opposition for a post-election convention to settle an ongoing sex-tape scandal that has been a source of much discomfort for the party’s ultranationalist factions.

These factions within the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, are urging party leader Devlet Bahçeli to give a “political, legal and moral” account of the issue at the proposed convention, according to information gathered by the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Key figures within the party are planning the convention behind closed doors, refraining from speaking publicly about it to avoid harming the party during the process leading up to the June 12 general election.

Another subject of much debate is the possibility of replacing current party leader Bahçeli if the party loses significant ground in the elections.

A convention will take place after the elections no matter what the outcome, said former deputy party leader Şevket Bülent Yahnici, who is also a former MHP Ankara deputy. A lack of democracy within the MHP has led the party to its current state, Yahnici told the Daily News, adding that this situation troubled the party base.

“This [convention] cannot be avoided. No matter what the outcome of the elections, the MHP will arrive at a decision point,” said Yahnici.

Asked if he expects the party leadership to change, Yahnici said neither the leader nor the administration would be left alone, and that the convention would be used to settle accounts.

Among the names being suggested to replace Bahçeli are Central Executive Board, or MYK, member Mansur Yavaş, who is the former mayor of Beypazarı, an outlying district of Ankara; Istanbul deputy Meral Akşener; group deputy chairman Oktay Vural; former minister Koray Aydın; and Istanbul deputy candidate Professor Ümit Özdağ.

Yavaş told the Daily News that he did not want to make any comments until after the elections and added that everyone was solely focused on the MHP’s success at the polls.

Recent events do not accord with ultranationalist ways, said Alaaddin Aldemir, the former leader of the “Ülkü Ocakları” (Idealist Hearths), a separate youth organization with links to the MHP. He called for a post-election convention regardless of the poll results, saying the ultranationalists had suffered serious trauma and must be given responsibilities in the new term.

“Bahçeli and his staff must give a political, legal and moral accounting of the issue at the convention, and refresh the trust [within the party]. The party’s mentality must change,” Aldemir told the Daily News.

He said the MHP chief should have surrounded himself with more ultranationalists who would have prevented these immoral acts.

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