MHP leader vows party rivals will ‘never be forgiven’
AA photoNationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has described an attempt by party dissidents to hold a congress that would unseat him as “disgraceful” and “the peak of vileness,” vowing that those who cannot overcome “personal greed” will “never be forgiven.”
“Those who present the party leadership as an ‘occupier’ should know that there is a limit to the patience of ülkücüs,” Bahçeli said on May 17, using a term used by many right-wing nationalists to describe their ideology.
“Every move necessary to disperse this group sent from ‘beyond the ocean’ will be made within the framework of the law,” he said, addressing his party’s parliamentary group, which holds 40 seats at the 550-seat national assembly.
“Beyond the ocean” is a byword for the United States in Turkish politics and in recent years it has become used to refer to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, an ally-turned-archenemy of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Bahçeli claims that his party opponents are also supported by the Gülen movement.
The embattled MHP leader was addressing his party’s lawmakers two days after police sealed off a hotel in Ankara to prevent party dissidents from holding an extraordinary congress aimed at changing the party’s internal regulations in order to be able to oust Bahçeli, who has been leader since 1997.
“Those who made an effort to pour our supporters onto streets and farms by not being able to overcome their personal greediness should know that they will never be forgiven,” Bahçeli said.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Bahçeli praised Koray Aydın, one of his four rivals for the leadership, after he suggested that leading candidate Meral Akşener was being supported by the Gülenists.
“The only real ülkücü among the candidates is Koray Aydın,” Bahçeli said.
Meanwhile, in his speech, the MHP head also strongly defended the controversial attendance of Turkey’s top general at the wedding of President Erdoğan’s youngest daughter, suggesting that criticism of Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar was actually aimed at “sabotaging the fight against terror.”