MHP lends rare support to opposition parties on parliament motion
Following a rift with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has lent support to opposition parties in parliament in a rare move over a motion to establish a parliamentary committee on the issue of early retirement in Turkey.
The MHP on Oct. 24 voted in favor of taking the motion over conducting a research on the issue of early retirement, proposed by İYİ (Good) Party, to the agenda of parliament, along with other opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The MHP’s move was a rare support to proposals of opposition parties since the MHP allied with the AKP. Last week, a proposal by the MHP to establish a committee on the problems faced by nut producers was also supported by other opposition parties.
But after the first vote, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli reportedly sacked the party’s deputy group chair Erhan Usta. The MHP’s short-lived support for the motion ended the same day when the MHP abstained on the last vote for the motion. The motion was rejected with the majority votes of AKP lawmakers on Oct. 24.
On Oct. 23 the MHP announced it would not ally with the AKP for the March 2019 municipal elections amid a growing row between the two parties over a debate on “nationalism” and a proposed amnesty law, signaling an end to the “People’s Alliance” they had formed earlier in 2018.
The MHP and the AKP had formed the People’s Alliance for the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, which led to the latter’s chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s election as the first executive president of Turkey.
However, both Erdoğan and Bahçeli stressed that parting ways ahead of the local polls would not affect the existence of the People’s Alliance, an indication that the parties will continue cooperation on parliament legislations.
But another indication of the rift between the AKP and the MHP unfolded when some MHP officials told local media on condition of anonymity that the party was “considering” presenting former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, a longtime member of the AKP, as their candidate for the capital city in the local elections.
Friction between the two parties began significantly after the MHP submitted a draft law to parliament on granting amnesty for some convicts, including a notorious mafia leader. But the AKP had strongly opposed the MHP’s proposal.
The tension became more apparent after Turkey’s administrative court ordered the reinstatement of the national oath for schools across Turkey which had been removed in 2009.
While the AKP strongly slammed the court’s decision, the MHP defended it and accused the ruling party of undermining the “Turkishness” of the country.