MHP leader warns of ‘chaos’ under single-party AKP rule after Nov. 1
ANKARATurkey’s nationalist opposition leader has given a stark warning a week before the Nov. 1 snap elections, suggesting the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power as a single-party government might lead to “chaos,” as it would encourage President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to impose his aspirations for a presidential system.
“The Nov. 1 elections are more important than the June 7 elections. The results of this election may lead to notable chaos [and] nightmares [for the country],” Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said late on Oct. 22.
“For example, when the Justice and Development Party achieves becoming the first party by a very narrow margin by mobilizing all opportunities of the state and by developing its contacts with people, through the extreme use of media and building very different relations, then Mr. President [Erdoğan] may implement a ‘statement’ which he used previously. It would be outstanding chaos at the moment he says ‘This is a de facto situation, I am announcing the presidential system and I am the chief of the state,’” Bahçeli said in an interview with CNN Türk.
“Turkey would then live a nightmare,” Bahçeli said. “When a person [Erdoğan], who speaks of a de facto situation while residing in the unregistered palace and while having lost nine percent of the votes, finds [himself in a] position of ruling on [his] own, this de facto situation and its practices may lead to an nightmare environment for Turkey.” When compared to the 2011 elections, the AKP saw a nine percent decrease in overall votes on June 7, having received 40.66 percent of the vote.
In the run-up to the June 7 parliamentary election, Erdoğan held a series of large public rallies during which he made little secret of his preference for single-party rule by the AKP despite constitutional clauses which required him to be impartial. Opponents have argued he wanted another election to enable the AKP to win a large enough majority to change the constitution and grant him sweeping powers as an executive president.
In remarks delivered in his hometown, the Black Sea province of Rize, on Aug. 14, Erdoğan said Turkey had witnessed a change in the president’s new role and asked for the constitution to be updated to recognize his de facto deployment of enhanced powers.
“There is a president with de facto power in the country, not a symbolic one. The president should conduct his duties for the nation directly, but within his authority. Whether one accepts it or not, Turkey’s administrative system has changed. Now, what should be done is to update this de facto situation in the legal framework of the constitution,” he said.
The remarks came exactly a day after AKP leader and incumbent Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu failed to forge a coalition alliance with the Republican People’s Party (CHP), edging Turkey closer toward new elections. After failing to secure a coalition, Davutoğlu formed an interim cabinet ahead of the November re-run.
The June 7 elections were the first ever parliamentary elections that the AKP entered without Erdoğan’s leadership, instead led by Davutoğlu, who was elected as party leader in August 2014 after Erdoğan became president in a popular vote. At this year’s party congress, Davutoğlu was reelected as party leader.
Bahçeli underlined that Turkey would not tolerate holding another reelection if the results of the Nov. 1 polls fail to produce a single-party government and probable efforts for a coalition government fail, as was the case after June 7.