HSP dissolves itself as its leader plans to join the ruling party

HSP dissolves itself as its leader plans to join the ruling party

HSP dissolves itself as its leader plans to join the ruling party

Numan Kurtulmuş, the founder of the HSP says goodbye to party members and voews to build a strong Turkey. DAILY NEWS photos, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Conservative opposition People’s Voice Party (HSP) yesterday dissolved itself with a majority of its delegates’ votes, after its chairman Numan Kurtulmuş recently accepted an offer to join the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the request of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“This [dissolution] is an integration process [with the AKP] to build a new and strong Turkey. This is not a coalition or a matter of bargaining, I did not do any bargaining during this process. Our main objective is to contribute the process of building a new Turkey without evading responsibility,” Kurtulmuş said in a speech delivered at his party’s extraordinary congress held in the capital city of Ankara.

Kurtulmuş and his close fellows are expected to join the ruling party on Sept. 22 at the AKP’s Istanbul provincial congress.

In July, following long-held speculation that Kurtulmuş was on Erdoğan’s mind as his possible successor as party head, Erdoğan personally proposed to Kurtulmuş the idea of merging the parties under the umbrella of the AKP.

Roots of HSP

The HSP was formed by Kurtulmuş shortly after he broke from the Felicity Party (SP) in October 2010, and received 0.76 percent of the votes at the 2011 general elections. Both Erdoğan and Kurtulmuş once belonged to the Virtue Party (FP) before it was closed down by the Constitutional Court in 2001.

Kurtulmuş preferred to stay within the SP, the flag-bearer of the conservative “National View” movement, while Erdoğan formed the AKP in 2001.In his speech, Kurtulmuş repeatedly stressed that he was not making politics for his own personal interests and did not seek any particular post or position within the ruling party or government.

“Turkey is passing through one of its most important turning points. Politicians who have short-term calculations do not risk themselves and pursue wait-and-see politics. But we evaluated the Prime Minister’s invitation with sense of responsibility and declared our desire to merge,” Kurtulmuş said.

A majority of delegates voted for the dissolution of the HSP. However, a number of party members strongly opposed the dissolution of the party.

Mehmet Bekaroğlu, former deputy chairman of the HSP, said they had opposed the mentality of the ruling party from the very beginning, and recalled Kurtulmuş’s harsh criticism of the AKP during the 2011 election campaign. “What has the AKP done for 10 years? What they have done is build their own tutelage regime instead of the old one,” Bekaroğlu said, claiming that by merging with the HSP, the AKP aimed to build a “nationalist front” to prevent the growth of any possible opposition.