MHP not to present candidate in Istanbul municipality
Umut Erdem - ANKARA
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will not present a candidate for the Istanbul Metropolitan Mayoralty seat in the upcoming local elections, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said, lending support to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in “consolidation for the executive presidential system.”
“The MHP cannot continue to exist in Turkish politics if it will present a candidate in Istanbul and fool itself,” Bahçeli said to a group of reporters in Ankara on late Sept. 19.
The nationalist party had entered into the parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24 in an alliance with the AKP under the “People’s Alliance,” and both parties had vowed to continue their alliances in future legislative and political activities.
He underlined the importance of local elections, stating that the executive presidential system that went into effect with the June 24 elections “can only be consolidated with the local administrations.”
“There should be a result that would not cast a shadow to the legitimacy of the executive presidential system. If the new system’s rulers will not garner the expected results, then [the opposition] is too keen to start a debate over the legitimacy of the system,” he added.
He said the three metropolitan cities have special importance over this “legitimacy problem,” stating “it is very important to get a definite result in three big cities for the advantage of the executive presidential system, both for the consolidation of the system and the normalization of people.”
He said the nationalist party will present candidates in certain cities but refrain from it in certain cities in accordance with this principle.
“It is clear how many votes we have received in Istanbul in the past. Is there any point of presenting a candidate in a place where it is clear we cannot win a municipality and say, ‘look we have a candidate?’ We are being realistic,” he said, adding that the party is working on its strategy for Ankara and İzmir.
“The MHP should keep the municipalities it had gained in 2004 and should raise the number [of municipalities] as much as it can,” he said, adding that there are not any talks concerning such a strategy.
“If there is an environment for talks, the MHP can reveal its strategy in detail,” he said.
Bahçeli had already signaled a possible collaboration with the AKP in the local elections, emphasizing upon “security threats,” which he argues the southeastern provinces pose.
He accused the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of being affiliated with the illegal PKK and called for an alliance saying “these provinces should never be left in the hands of HDP-linked municipalities.”
The MHP leader reiterated his rhetoric, stating that if the CHP were to form a collaboration with the HDP, it would “change the course of the struggle against terror.”
“What I am saying is a collaboration that will destroy the PKK at the political level by gaining the will of feudal leaders [aşiretler] of Kurdish origin living in southeastern Anatolia who are not involved in terror and presenting candidates they support,” said Bahçeli.