MHP launches probe into two former deputies over remarks
ANKARAThe opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) launched an investigation on May 9 into two former deputies for their remarks on party management, marking the second such probe against dissident candidates within the party.
The party headquarters launched a probe into former MHP deputies and dissident candidates Koray Aydın and Sinan Oğan for their remarks targeting party management. Meanwhile, it has also been reported that MHP Gaziantep deputy Ümit Özdağ, one of the candidates running for the party leadership, could be referred for discipline with a demand to be expelled from the party by the decision of the MHP Central Executive Board (MYK).
Speaking in the Marmara province of Bursa, Özdağ said the party was seeking a high-profile leader with high character. Previously, an investigation was launched on April 17 into former deputy Meral Akşener over her remarks in an interview on private broadcaster CNN Türk late on April 15, when she denied current leader Devlet Bahçeli’s claims that she was supported by the Gülen movement.
MHP dissidents have criticized Bahçeli since the party’s poor showing in the Nov. 1, 2015, election, in which it won only 11 percent of the country’s votes and 40 seats in parliament.
Meanwhile, Bahçeli’s most recent remarks have caused another stir in political circles over his position regarding a potential shift to a presidential system in Turkey.
“Turkey does not even have a second to lose with a low-profile president. We consider the existence of a powerful government a national duty. If needed, the de facto support we have given to the government until yesterday to defend Turkey’s national and historical interests can take a legal dimension,” said Bahçeli on May 8.
Political circles were discussing whether these statements could mean support for a party-president or semi-presidential system in Turkey.
Bahçeli has led the party since July 1997, but MHP dissidents have collected enough delegate votes to hold an extraordinary convention to challenge the party’s leadership. Along with Oğan and Aydın, two other candidates, Akşener and Özdağ, have already expressed their intention to run for the party leadership, but their attempts to hold a convention had been blocked by party headquarters. The call for an extraordinary convention was taken to court for a final decision.