MHP leader: Turkey needs a new charter, not an elected despot

MHP leader: Turkey needs a new charter, not an elected despot

MHP leader: Turkey needs a new charter, not an elected despot

Cihan Photo

A new charter is what Turkey needs, not an “elected despot,” the leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, has said, warning against shifting to a presidential system. 

“We cannot cooperate with primitive mindsets that wish to benefit from a shift to a presidential system under the disguise of a new charter,” Bahçeli told reporters on Jan. 10 in a press conference marking the end of MHP’s weekend camp in Ankara’s Kızılcahamam district. 

“Turkey needs a new charter, not an elected despot,” he added. 

Bahçeli stressed all modes of governance and systems of administration had roots in history and change was possible only when these roots were overturned via “a coup or a revolution.”

“We expect the AKP [Justice and Development Party] to put an end to its dreams of a presidential system, and [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu to refrain from being deceived by [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan,” Bahçeli said. 

The MHP leader has recently claimed that a “reluctant” Davutoğlu is being forced to support a change to a presidential system by the “insistence” of Turkey’s president.

Bahçeli also touched upon rising dissident voices in his party who have been calling for an extraordinary convention in order to change the leadership due to a dramatic fall in the MHP’s vote in the Nov. 1 parliamentary election.

“… There is an active and sneaky effort from outside of our party. None of my fellows with whom we share a common cause and in whose clean conscience, strong will and felicitous I trust will get dragged with this flow and will not offer an opportunity, no matter what the reason is,” Bahçeli said.

“The Nationalist-Ülkücü movement should close the ranks more than ever,” he added. “Ülkücü,” meaning “idealist,” is a term used by many far-right Turks to describe their ideology.

“The date of the MHP congress will be March 18, 2018. [A date] before that is not an issue which concerns us anymore. “No matter who collects [delegate] signatures,” he added, their signatures will not be accepted but they will be able to take legal action themselves. “That’s why we advise them to defend their rights before the courts in the coming days,” he said, not within the party.