The long-awaited new political party set to be officially founded in October, led by former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmaker Meral Akşener, has held its first meeting in Istanbul with the participation of 1,500 supporters.
“Our party will be born as the party of Turkey. Our nation has acknowledged it as Turkey’s party even before it has been born,” Akşener said at the meeting in Istanbul’s Avcılar district on Sep. 26.
At the meeting attended by thousands of supporters, Akşener introduced the founders’ committee of the party as “retired ambassadors Ahmet Erozan and Tugay Uluçevik, former ministers Aydın Tümen and Suat Çağlayan, former lawmakers Cevher Cevheri and Kazım Ataoğlu, businesswomen Çiğdem Özer, Elif Gökdemir from Tokyo University, and former police chief Fatih Eryılmaz.”
The name, emblem and internal party regulations will be declared on Oct. 25, Akşener stated.
“There will not be any women’s branch in the party structure,” she said, stressing that instead women “will take positions in every level of the party’s organization.”
“There will be a 30 percent women’s quota, as we are still discussing with our male friends. The quota will be at every level in the party,” she added.
Akşener also said they are planning to allocate some of the finances that political parties receive as state aid to women who have newly entered politics.
“We will work to build a base, both for the political atmosphere and for our party,” she said.
Akşener noted that she had faced “logistical difficulties” in the process of forming the party, including finding a headquarters for the party, rooms for meetings, and hotels for accommodation.
“Some hotel administrations are acting under the pressure of certain ministries,” she said.
“It has been said that this party will not be allowed to be formed, or that Akşener will be imprisoned if she pursues her bid to form this party. But the honorable [President] Tayyip Erdoğan that I know will not let anyone say he was afraid of women. So this party will be formed,” Akşener vowed.
“I am not afraid of being arrested. I’ve already said publicly that if they can find anything they can come and arrest me. There are many slanders against me. I have said that if they cannot prove their slander then they have no honor,” she said.
Akşener, who has a background in nationalist politics, also said she would visit Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern and eastern provinces for 15 days and hold meetings with people there. She has rented a house in the eastern province of Bitlis and will head there after Oct. 25, Akşener vowed.
“We will become the third party competing in the region with the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] and the Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP],” she said.