Turkey's ruling AKP turns down nationalist ally's call for amnesty again

Turkey's ruling AKP turns down nationalist ally's call for amnesty again

ANKARA
Turkeys ruling AKP turns down nationalist allys call for amnesty again

The Turkish government has once again turned down the demand from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli to pardon a number of convicts in Turkey.

"It is currently not in the agenda of our government," Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül told reporters in the southeastern province of Gaziantep on June 2.

The leader of the MHP, which is now aligned with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as part of the "People's Allliance" for the June 24 elections, had made the initial call on Twitter on May 12. 

“Why is favoring the victims of fate, who long for their loved ones in prison, not considered?” Bahçeli leader had posted on his official account, saying the offer excluded “child abusers, rapists, murderers of women and members of the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK and the [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ."

“Mr. Bahçeli’s demand or offer is his own. Right now we, with our government, certainly do not have such a consideration,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 13.

Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, had said that amnesty was not in the government's agenda.

However, Bahçeli repeated his call on June 1, adding that "God willing, it can happen before the Eid al-Fitr," referring to 3-day religious celebration that will start on June 15.

Naming the names

“If men who are in love with their homeland and ideals, who are known to be the brave and fearless man of their mission, such as Alattin Çakıcı or Kürşat Yılmaz, were presented as presidential candidates by the signatures of 100,000 nationalists, would there be such a petition for their release?” Bahçeli said, referring to some of the well-known convicts.

High-profile Turkish mafia leader Çakıcı is currently in Kırıkkale Prison, serving a sentence for instigating the murder of his ex-wife Nuriye Uğur Kılıç. He is also convicted of several crimes including organizing and leading a crime syndicate for the purpose of generating profit, instigating murder, instigating injury, and insulting President Erdoğan.

His name is known in connection to a number of notorious armed crimes and he was first arrested after the 1980 coup d’etat, tried in relation to cases involving the MHP and a number of nationalist organizations in connection to the murder of 41 people. He was later arrested in France’s Nice in 1998, after which he claimed that he had been working for Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) abroad.

Bahçeli sparked controvarsery when he visited Çakıcı at a hospital on May 23.

Another convict, Kürşat Yılmaz was a member of Nationalist Youth Organization (ÜGD) before the 1980 coup. Extradited to Turkey in 1999, he has been since then in prison for instigating the murder of former Kuşadası Mayor Lütfi Suyolcu.

Opposition parties had criticized the MHP's insistent calls. 

“This is not something to discuss like handing out candy before an election. It should be discussed in parliament. The proper scope and framework should be assessed,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Bülent Tezcan had said on May 13.

Amnesty, MHP, AKP