Will the ‘People’s Alliance’ continue?
First of all, there is a need to agree on the name. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) says “this is not an amnesty but a reduction of sentence.” The opposition argues that the MHP’s proposal is exactly an amnesty.
Hikmet Sami Türk, who was the justice minister in the last practice of amnesty known as Rahşan’s Amnesty (in reference to the wife of the then prime minister the late Bülent Ecevit) has said “the MHP’s proposal has no difference from the one applied in 1999. On the contrary many of its articles are the same.”
Well then why is it not called an amnesty?
First of all, when it is called an amnesty, it then requires a qualified majority of the vote in the parliament. But if it is called a sentence reduction, then a simple majority will be enough to pass it from the parliament. Second, the amnesty has a political cost.
The AKP will examine the proposal
The MHP needs the support of other parties to put the amnesty in force. The stance of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) especially, with which the MHP had forged the People’s Alliance, is important. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has maintained his initial stance with the statement he made right before he left for the United States.
Does that mean the AKP will not support the MHP’s proposal? We have to recall Erdoğan’s words, “Let’s see the proposal and work on it. If there are steps to be taken, we will take them, or we will see what we can or cannot do.”
He has not closed the door on the MHP’s proposal. The lawyers of the AKP are examining the proposal.
Rahşan’s Amnesty was negotiated in the parliament five times and at the end, Rahşan Ecevit had said, “this is not the amnesty I wanted.” Two things become real once it becomes a topic of discussion: One is early elections and the other is amnesty. Early elections took place on June 24. It remains to be seen how the talk on amnesty will end.
If amnesty is one of the agenda items between the AKP and the MHP, the other is the alliance in the local elections.
The first step on the alliance
The first step in that direction was taken on Sept. 25. Deputy heads from the two parties Mehmet Özhaseki and Sadir Durmaz held their first meetings.
The first meeting took a picture of the alliance, in a sense. The proposal to make an alliance in the local elections had come from MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli.
The AKP needed to listen to the MHP and that is what occurred in the meeting. Özhaseki and Durmaz did not go into detail but decided on the continuation of the People’s Alliance.
Erdoğan and Bahçeli will meet after the Turkish President returns from the United States. Following that meeting, Özhaseki and Durmaz will continue their work.
The proposal for the alliance in the presidential and general elections had come from Bahçeli. The offer came from him this time again. Compared to the June 24 elections, however, the AKP did not show the same energetic eagerness to endorse the proposal on this occasion.
But that should not lead anyone to any delusions. No one should think the People’s Alliance has come to an end. The alliance is continuing. There is willingness on both sides. The problem is in shaping the model. Erdoğan has the intention of continuing the alliance until the 2023 elections.