Brawl erupts between Bahçeli supporters, MHP dissidents
ANKARAA fight erupted between the supporters of Meral Akşener, a dissident member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the supporters of party leader Devlet Bahçeli during an event organized by the former in Ankara on July 6. The fight erupted during a celebratory event organized by Akşener in a hotel to mark Eid al-Fitr, as Bahçeli supporters gathered in front of the hotel and chanted slogans.
“The leader of the movement is Devlet Bahçeli,” the supporters of the MHP headquarters shouted in the Anadolu Hotel, as the supporters of Akşener responded. The clash of words later turned into a fight and the sides threw glasses at each other, as Akşener left the hall.
Several people were wounded in the fight and a gunshot was heard outside of the hotel, according to reports.
Akşener continued with her Eid program in the hotel after the fight was over.
Earlier in the day, there was another celebratory event held by the MHP to mark Eid al-Fitr which was organized by Bahçeli, who criticized Akşener and other dissidents with harsh words.
“The [only MHP] Eid celebration is the one here, today. According to the information I received, any celebration other than this is a plot recommended by the Fethullah Gülen movement and their effort to put themselves in political and social ground once again. We will foil the plot,” Bahçeli told journalists, referring to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Gülen which was recently declared a terrorist organization by Turkey’s top security board, the National Security Council (MGK).
Gülen and his followers are accused of trying to overthrow the government by using their influence in the judiciary and police.
“For this reason, the necessary steps will be taken in accordance with our bylaws against the ones attempting to organize another celebration and a cleaning season will start in the MHP,” Bahçeli added.
The incident was the latest in the continuing turmoil within the MHP, as dissidents have bid to unseat long-standing Bahçeli, who in turn has accused his opponents of plotting against the MHP.
Amid numerous court rulings and counter court ruling, Turkey’s top election authority, the Supreme Election Board (YSK), recently ruled out a planned snap MHP congress that party dissidents had arranged in an effort to oust Bahçeli.
There are four prominent candidates, Akşener, Sinan Oğan, Ümit Özdağ and Koray Aydın, who have already announced that they will run against Bahçeli.