Turkey’s nationalist opposition roiled over leadership challenges
AA photoThe feud within the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has become increasingly bitter, with the party launching a probe into a party leadership contender over her remarks against current leader Devlet Bahçeli.
The investigation into Meral Akşener was launched on April 17 due to her remarks in an interview on private broadcaster CNN Türk late on April 15, when she denied Bahçeli’s claims that she was supported by the Gülen movement.
“If I am a ‘parallel’ project for the MHP, then Mr. Bahçeli is himself ‘Chief Parallel.’ But this is not true,” Akşener said, using the Turkish government’s term to refer to sympathizers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Earlier on April 15, the MHP appealed to the 18th Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals against a local court ruling for appointment of a three-member panel to organize an extraordinary congress.
On April 8, an Ankara court accepted the demands of dissident MHP members to force an extraordinary party congress, appointing a three-member panel to organize the congress.
In addition to Akşener, former MHP lawmakers Sinan Oğan, Koray Aydın and Ümit Özdağ also voiced their intention to run for the party leadership, but their attempts to hold a convention had been blocked by party headquarters.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has indicated “disapproval” of the local court’s decision.
“I believe that use of discretion about political parties by courts does not comply with democracy,” Bozdağ said in an interview with Kanal 24 news station on April 15, in remarks that infuriated Akşener.
“The justice minister’s remarks on the MHP’s internal affairs are pressure on judges at the 18th Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. This is clear,” Akşener told CNN Türk, adding that she would start a “sit-in” protest in front of the Justice Ministry if Bozdağ continued to deliver such comments.