History won’t forgive Bahçeli: Former MHP deputy leader

History won’t forgive Bahçeli: Former MHP deputy leader

History won’t forgive Bahçeli: Former MHP deputy leader

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History will not be kind to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli, according to a former deputy leader of the party who was expelled from the party due to a dispute with the party leader.

“Rather than protect the constitution that he swore to protect, Bahçeli will comply with the person who constantly violates it and paves the way for a change that would form a one-man regime. History won’t forgive him,” Ümit Özdağ told daily Cumhuriyet, adding that he was unsure why Bahçeli had chosen to support a presidential system.

“I don’t think the reason matters that much. What matters to me is the result. If for 10 years you said, ‘The presidential system will bring Turkey’s partition forward,’ if you defended that in every platform and every opportunity, and if you told the Turkish nation that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan aims to transform Turkey into a federation through a presidency, then when you defend the presidential system, the people will ask you: Did you lie for 10 years or are you lying now?” he said. 

Turkey’s parliament is commencing two-stage discussions on government-drafted constitutional amendments that are set to usher in a major change in the country’s governance system for an executive presidency despite oppositional concerns that it will lead to authoritarian rule.

The bloc of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the MHP with whom the government drafted the charter proposal is making a special effort to prevent any defections from their parties in an effort to reach the 330 votes needed to bring the constitution to the referendum. The total number of votes of the two parties reaches 355, but seven lawmakers from the MHP have already publicly declared their opposition to the package.

“More than 95 percent of the base and top of the MHP, except for a small group in the headquarters, reject the charter openly, saying it will lead Turkey to partition and one-man diktat. I think it’s very hard to obtain a total of 330 votes. It’s not just in the MHP; I think losses will occur in the AKP as well. There are AKP members who tell me that they will say no,” he said. 

During his interview, Özdağ also said Bahçeli was leading the MHP to suicide by remaining as head of the party.

“An MHP which has Devlet Bahçeli as the head of the party has no chance in the presidential or parliamentary system. The only thing Bahçeli can do, if he wants to do something good for the party, is leave his post and take the party to a democratic general congress,” he added.