Opposition MHP overhauls provincial branches, including Istanbul
Mehmet Bülent Karataş has become the party’s new Istanbul provincial chair.The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the third largest party in the Turkish Parliament, has completely overhauled its Istanbul provincial branch, and made big changes to its operations in other provinces across the country.
The MHP also entirely replaced its provincial branch in the Black Sea province of Giresun, the party’s deputy chair in charge of organizational affairs, Şefkat Çetin, announced on May 26.
In a written statement announcing the new executives of the MHP’s Istanbul branch, Çetin did not elaborate on the reason why such a move was being made at this time.
With the changes, Mehmet Bülent Karataş has become the party’s new Istanbul provincial chair.
Karataş had run for the post in 2003 and 2006 and was elected as a member of the party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) in 2012.
In the March 30 elections, the MHP dropped to become the fourth party in the Istanbul metropolitan city vote, receiving only 4.2 percent of the vote, behind the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), which came third with 4.5 percent of the vote. The incumbent mayor from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) re-took the metropolitan municipality, ahead of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) candidate.
In addition to its poor metropolitan performance, the MHP also failed to win a single district municipality in Istanbul.
In the 2009 local elections, the MHP won 5.4 percent of the total votes in Istanbul.
Karataş’s predecessor, the outgoing Abdurrahman Başkan, said he had appealed to MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli on April 3 and requested to leave his post.
“Considering our opportunities as the Istanbul provincial organization, despite not having many flaws in the recent [March 30 local] elections with regard to what else we could have done … resignation when the desired result is not obtained encourages politicians for future generations,” Başkan said in a written statement released on May 26.