MHP: PM involuntarily serving Erdoğan’s interests

MHP: PM involuntarily serving Erdoğan’s interests

MHP: PM involuntarily serving Erdoğan’s interests

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Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is reluctant to change to a presidential system but is being forced to do so by the “insistence” of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – the only person that desires such a system, according to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.

“The only person that is actually insisting on the presidency, increasing his pressure on the issue and thinking about it day and night is Erdoğan. Davutoğlu is reluctantly serving Erdoğan’s love for his seat and position,” Bahçeli said during a parliamentary group meeting of his party on Jan. 5.

Bahçeli also voiced hope that the much discussed and controversial possible presidential system would not obstruct the creation of a new charter, a day after a meeting with Davutoğlu that ended with consensus to work on a new constitution.

Although the MHP and the AKP share a voter base, the MHP has been an ardent criticizer of Erdoğan, especially after Turkey’s 2013 graft cases that tainted four AKP ministers, their sons, as well as one of the president’s sons, Bilal Erdoğan.

 “While saying ‘new constitution,’ Erdoğan is not hiding that his principal goal is a presidential system. Here is the essence of the matter: Erdoğan and Davutoğlu are out to use a probable new constitution as a cover, opportunity and leverage for [implementing] the presidential system,” he said. 

“However, Davutoğlu’s views and statements about the presidential system are hesitant,” he said, quoting Davutoğlu’s statements delivered both after the June 7 parliamentary elections and after the Nov. 1 snap parliamentary elections in which he said the presidential system was not Turkey’s number-one agenda item.

The MHP is categorically against a presidential system, he said, while favoring a revision and strengthening of the existing parliamentary system.

“It is our most sincere wish that the presidential system does not function as an obstruction in the planned preparatory work on a new constitution, which we want to be held with broad participation,” the MHP leader said.

“Davutoğlu should display his will and open up his eyes; the presidential system is Erdoğan’s personal passion and for his prosperity. He should not be a tool and offer an opportunity for that,” he added.

MHP ready to lift immunity of HDP lawmakers

Turkey’s main nationalist leader has also signaled his willingness to lift the immunity of lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) while blaming the president and the government for the growth in recent militancy.

“If the immunity of the so-called HDP politicians is to be lifted, there is no obstacle before [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu and the AKP [Justice and Development Party]. Let them come; let’s resolve this problem completely in parliament. Let’s finish it off entirely, let’s facilitate the judiciary’s business,” MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said.

Prosecutors last week opened a criminal investigation into the co-leaders of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, over comments supporting a democratic autonomy model that could be applied throughout the country.

Over the weekend, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan backed the probe, saying the pair should “pay the price” and be stripped of their immunity.

All of the HDP’s deputies have said they are willing to forego their parliamentary immunity, while encouraging AKP colleagues to also do so.

The leaders of the HDP, which focuses on the Kurdish problem, attended a meeting of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) held in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır between Dec. 26 and Dec. 27, 2015, during which the establishment of democratic autonomous regions was presented as a solution to the Kurdish problem.

The attendees also asked for self-governance and embraced the “legitimate insurgency” in a number of southeastern districts, while also urging the people of Turkey to support their cause.

But Bahçeli also voiced his suspicions regarding “secret bargaining” between the AKP and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) amid government-led military operations in Southeast Anatolia that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds after locals erected barricades to prevent access by Turkish forces.

“Are the current urban clashes aimed at aggravating bargaining over a new constitution? Let me ask more openly: Is the AKP currently conducting talks with the PKK? Did Erdoğan make a promise of a federation to the PKK in Oslo?” Bahçeli asked while addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his party, referring to discussions in Oslo between the PKK and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in 2011.

“And more importantly than everything else, are the days of violence and dismay that we have been experiencing part of preliminary work for a presidential system that is based on autonomy?” he asked.