MHP expels deputy for joining AKP-led election gov't
Tuğrul Türkeş. AA photoThe Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has expelled one of its senior figures for breaking party lines to join the interim election government led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The MHP's Central Disciplinary Committee expelled Tuğrul Türkeş in a unanimous decision on Sept. 5.
Ballots were counted publicly following the committee's secret voting, sources told daily Hürriyet, adding that Türkeş did not present his defence.
Türkeş, whose father, Alparslan Türkeş, was the founder of the MHP, broke party lines and accepted Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s offer to join the interim government that will take Turkey to snap polls on Nov. 1.
He immediately became the subject of harsh criticism from his party colleagues over the move, with MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli launching a process to expel him from the party.
Refusing to resign, Türkeş said in a press conference on Sept. 4, that his fate should be decided by the party’s grassroots with an extraordinary congress on Oct. 4, instead of by the disciplinary committee.
"I am a member of the MHP and I have brought my party to power, even if it is only an election government. Nobody can dismiss me for this reason. Nobody can kick me out of this party,” he said.
Türkeş was careful not to directly target Bahçeli, but he harshly criticized the MHP head’s close cadre, going so far as to describe them as “a few drunks, a couple of jackals.”
MHP chair Bahçeli told journalists late Sept. 4 that he disapproved Türkeş's statement that suggested he has been representing the nationalist party in the interim government.
When he was asked whether Türkeş's departure would mean a loss in votes for the MHP in the upcoming election, Bahçeli said: "If a sparrow perches on a mountain, what would the mountain gain? And if it flies away again, what would the mountain lose?"
With Türkeş expelled, MHP's parliamentary seats decreased from 80 to 79, making the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) the third largest group in parliament.
The HDP and the MHP were tied at 80 seats for each after the June 7 general election.