I was in parliament on Tuesday. I went towards the members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
They were quite tense. They were waiting for the decision that the Court of Appeals was preparing to make public about the party’s congress. Developments in the MHP are unfolding in contradiction with the expectation of the party’s central administration. That’s why the questioning seems to have started within MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s team. They are looking for a scapegoat. The number of those thinking that their mistakes are serving Meral Akşener is growing. There is one single subject at party headquarters: Meral Akşener.
She has succeeded to top the agenda of not only the MHP but also other parties and even the people on the street. The interest she receives on her trips inside the country is being followed closely by members of other parties. If the Court of Appeals gives a green light for a congress on May 15, the party administration will send the opposition members to discipline with expulsion from the party as the end result. That will prevent Akşener, Sinan Oğhan and Koray Aydın from being candidates in the party congress.
There is an unbelievable chess game being played in the MHP, as Bahçeli took the gun of expulsion. Akşener has however decided to continue her struggle to the end. If she will not be allowed to do politics within the MHP framework, she will have to make a new assessment. She has not accepted claims she will set up a new party. But 24 hours is short time for politics.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the MHP are going to party congresses. It seems their destinies are overlapping. Bahçeli clarified his words on the support he will give to the AKP. He said he will give his support to the fight against terror. When he was asked about his statement, which was perceived to be supportive of a president with links to a political party, he said, “You are missing the gist of my speech.” Yet the AKP had become excited, perceiving the MHP’s leader as supportive of a president with a political party. Indeed, Bahçeli clarified what he said, but we are passing from such a period that this is not the end of the story on that issue.
Nurettin Canikli, the head of the AKP’s parliamentary group, said they will introduce a “plan B” before parliament goes on recess and present an amendment to enable the president to have an official link to a political party.
This is a new situation. A new constitution is now on hold and priority is given to that amendment. The aim is to change article 101 in the constitution which stipulates that a president’s relationship with a political party is cut when they are elected. Action will be taken right after the congress.
Who will be the prime minister?
This issue will have difficulty finding itself a high place on the agenda. I have been sounding out AKP members and all everyone is talking about is who will be the prime minister.
Or rather they are asking whether it will be Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım or Energy Minister Berat Albayrak; whether it will be Bekir Bozdağ or Numan Kurtulmuş.
According to rumors in the AKP corridors, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is continuing his assessments. He has not yet given a clear sign on who will be prime minister. There are several scenarios on both the AKP and MHP fronts. But we are now entering a period where these scenarios will become clearer.