MHP leader unleashes fury at party dissidents
AA photoOpposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has slammed opponents within his party for criticizing his support for constitutional amendments that will be subjected to a referendum in April.
“Insolvent circles wonder what the MHP will say in the referendum … All criticism that is not democratic, well-thought and sincere is null in our eyes,” Bahçeli said on Twitter on Feb. 14.
His comments came after suspended members of the party mounted their opposition to the constitutional changes, which promise to usher in a presidential system with vastly enhanced powers for the head of state, announcing their plan to campaign against the charter.
“It is surprising that those who should be filled with despair and guilt have decided to make a ‘no’ tour in Anatolia. They are attempting to become popular with this fake agenda and trying to lead with their rotten minds. Our duty is to let them go,” Bahçeli added.
The leading figure among the dissidents, Meral Akşener, who previously stood against Bahçeli as a candidate for party leadership, replied to Bahçeli’s tweet, saying, “Have some decency!”
Battle analogy for referendum
Bahçeli is supporting the constitutional amendment, urging voters that the “system change is a matter of re-establishing social balance.”
“When the imbalance reaches momentum, only power will be able to beat it. Power is the nation. That is why we are saying ‘yes,’” he said, referring to the referendum as one of the most important battles for Turkey, likening it to the War of Independence.
“In order to save ourselves from social and political catastrophes and plan the future, we need to start a new resurrection episode with a system change,” he said.
Bahçeli also replied to the opposition’s criticism over the changes after being slammed for supporting “a regime change” by violating the principle of separation of powers.
“They say saying ‘no’ means democracy, saying ‘yes’ means destroying the republic. How crippled, dirty and despiteful is this? There is nothing that is lost. There is nothing that is sacrificed, ignored or destroyed,” he said.
Aside from Bahçeli’s harsh take on the dissidents, the MHP has also hit back at another former deputy, who is also a former Central Bank governor.
Former Gov. Durmuş Yılmaz was harshly criticized after he said 80 percent of the party’s supporters would defy the MHP leadership to vote against the amendments because they “feel they have been fooled.”
MHP Deputy Chair Emin Haluk Ayhan asked Yılmaz to make an explanation, arguing that his claims were baseless.
In an interview with daily BirGün, Yılmaz said that when he spoke with members of the MHP electorate, he said he sensed that “they feel as though they were fooled.”
“I feel fooled as well. In the June 7 and Nov. 1  elections, I visited village after village, town after town. But what is happening now is exactly what we have proclaimed in our election manifesto. And people tell me, ‘You came to our village and said these things, but now you are doing the opposite.’ Now I do not have any response to give to those people. I am in a very tough situation,” said Yılmaz.