Erdoğan welcomes MHP’s pre-election alliance call, inter-party meeting scheduled
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has welcomed Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s open support for his nomination in the 2019 polls and called for a pre-election alliance between the two parties, inviting the latter to a meeting on Jan. 10 to discuss the partnership.
“I attach great importance to Mr. Bahçeli’s [supportive] statements. On behalf of myself, my party and my people, I express my gratitude for announcing his support so early on. It’s obvious that the 2019 elections will be between nationalists and those who are under [foreign] control,” Erdoğan told his parliamentary group on Jan 9.
President Erdoğan’s statement came as a response to Bahçeli’s recent remarks at a press conference, where he said the MHP would not present a candidate for the 2019 presidential elections and that the party sought an alliance with the AKP.
The two leaders will meet on Jan. 10 upon Erdoğan’s invitation to discuss a potential alliance between the AKP and the MHP.
Turkey is set to hold triple elections in 2019, starting with local polls in March and simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections in November. Bahçeli’s alliance proposal excludes local elections. Turkey will soon begin to fully implement the executive-presidency model that gives all executive powers to the elected president.
“I should particularly emphasize Mr. Bahçeli’s nationalist stance ahead of the polls,” Erdoğan said, vowing that the spirit of unity created by such a stance would spoil the plans of those who wish to divide Turkey.
“That’s why we will come together with Mr. Bahçeli and discuss our country’s problems. We hope to walk side-by-side in the future,” he said, stressing that the two parties would work to adjust the Election Law and Political Parties’ Law in order to make a pre-election alliance possible. Current laws do not permit parties to form pre-election alliances.
“There are so many things we can do together,” he added.
‘Alliance with AKP beyond 2019 polls’
Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group, Bahçeli reiterated his support for Erdoğan’s nomination in the 2019 elections but also vowed that ties between the parties were not limited to a pre-election alliance.
“[Our support] is not limited to 2019. It will continue for a further five years to ensure the new governance system endures,” Bahçeli said.
“The immediate realization of legal harmonization is another article in the agenda,” he added, echoing Erdoğan’s emphasis on the need to adjust key laws to enable a pre-election alliance.
Erdoğan burns bridges with Gül
In his address to the AKP group, Erdoğan lashed out at former president and prominent AKP member Abdullah Gül because of Gül’s criticism of a recent decree law that provides impunity for civilians involved in thwarting the 2016 coup attempt.
“Those who were once under our party’s roof but have now taken to drifting around outside in a different sort of mood have no right to say anything about our party,” Erdoğan said, without naming Gül.
Gül had attracted criticism from the ruling party after he criticized the latest state of emergency decree, which exempts civilians who fought against the 2016 coup attempt from criminal liability.
“Those who have fallen from the train will stay where they have fallen,” Erdoğan said.