The MHP has no speed boundaries
To cover Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s rally at the Marmara region city Bursa, we took the road from Ankara. There is no speed limit on MHP convoys but this time there was so much rain, it was hard to see the vehicle ahead. Despite the rain, we reached Bursa, sometimes citing some prayers.
On this occasion we learned that to be able to drive a vehicle in an MHP convoy, one needs to pass several long-term driving tests. The team has very experienced drivers; they are the road version of “Turkish stars.”
After the adventurous road trip, Bahçeli was at the rally at the scheduled time. Even if he called it “magnificent,” a crowd which did not totally fill Gökdere Square greeted him. But we should remember the heavy rain just before the rally.
The enthusiasm of the crowd made Bahçeli happy. From his words, we understood that the number of Bursa people cheering for him on the way also had a share in his happiness.
On a billboard, there were posters of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Alparslan Türkeş and Bahçeli, but the advertisement underneath was still visible and below the portrait of Bahçeli read: “Tastes likes Turkish delight.” While Bahçeli was criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, emphasizing the corruption and theft, it looked as if the crowd also got the same taste.
Bahçeli called Erdoğan “17/25 Erdoğan,” referencing the corruption investigations of Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013, and he said “remote-controlled Davutoğlu,” as he talked about the existence of corruption, bribery and those who hid cash in cases and boxes, also mentioning the banquets eaten on precious plates at the illegally-built palace; the rally crowd waved from one side to the other.
Bahçeli, as you can see, continues his harsh criticisms of Erdoğan. If Erdoğan keeps quiet against them, it looks as if Bahçeli will continue to speak in this tone and content until June 7.
However, the same Bahçeli, switched back to the “my brothers and sisters” discourse when those who vote for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was in question.
“They abused the votes you cast for them,” he said and called, “This time let us walk together for the future of our country.” Bahçeli made a similar call to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) voters: “My citizens who vote for the CHP; take a look at the situation of the applauders and this time walk with us.”
Two-thirds of his speech was AKP criticism based on corruption and in the last section he spoke of pledges, the social layers they would contribute to and called for the crowd “To walk together this time.”
We observed in Bursa that the enthusiasm of the MHP’s members and their expectations are high. We can say that their speed is fast on the highway of politics because they claim that they will have four deputies from Bursa, the city they won two deputies in four years ago.
According to them, the reasons for the increase are that even though Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu is at the top, the AKP’s list was not good, their organization was not represented, four former provincial leaders were disregarded and finally there were two Greek-origin candidates on the list, whereas Bursa is a city of Bulgarian immigrants.
Despite their preliminaries and “not so bad” list, the CHP list was not representing the party organization either, according to the MHP.
For the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the MHP is calculating that if the HDP could double their votes they can only win one deputy from Bursa, and because the top name on the HDP list was not from Bursa, this was very unlikely, they say.
Let us see where the MHP will go with this speed; we will see because there is not much time left anyway.