MHP stands as weakest link of People’s Alliance

MHP stands as weakest link of People’s Alliance

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has recently been making some interesting but worrying statements.

One such statement was his demand from the Interior Ministry to probe the Fethullahist Terror Organization’s (FETÖ) link with more than 250,000 people who signed a petition to nominate İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener as a candidate for the presidential elections.

The second was his demand for an amnesty for hundreds of thousands of convicts, including well-known criminals with strong nationalist backgrounds. He made another bizarre statement this week suggesting that FETÖ and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) could be in efforts to stir up a revolt in prisons on the eve of the June 24 polls. None of these arguments voiced by Bahçeli have received genuine support from his party’s ally, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

All these kinds of interesting statements could be explained as efforts to keep his electorate intact and consolidated given the fact that he is speedily losing his place as the nationalist leader. Some political analysts argue that the MHP could face an unprecedented defeat in the parliamentary elections and that’s why Bahçeli is panicking.

There is evidence to this end. A number of members of MHP provincial organizations have already announced their resignations from the party to join the İYİ Party in the last few months. However, a more recent development was observed earlier this week when one prominent MHP lawmaker from Istanbul, Atilla Kaya, vowed that he won’t vote for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the presidential elections although his party is part of the People’s Alliance with the AKP.

Kaya, who is one of the prominent members of the Grey Wolves grassroots of the MHP, in an interview with the opposition Sözcü newspaper, said around two thirds of the grassroots will not vote for Erdoğan for president. “For years, Erdoğan had been pursuing a hostile statement against the nationalists. There is a very serious disturbance among the party grassroots who are saying ‘Why should this person be our candidate?’ Our electorate has no idea why we are lending unconditional support to Erdoğan,” he stressed.

Under normal conditions, Bahçeli would call for his resignation from the party or would dismiss him through disciplinary mechanisms of the MHP. It seems Bahçeli does not dare take any action against Kaya on the grounds he does not want to create more in-house problems.

Instead, Bahçeli continues to attack the alliance of the four opposition parties: The Republican People’s Party (CHP), the İYİ Party, the Felicity Party (SP) and the Democrat Party (DP). In another statement, he accused these parties of being the tools of FETÖ and argued that the creation of this opposition alliance is a FETÖ project.

In a country where political memory is short, the fact that it was the MHP leader himself who first demanded a change in the political parties’ law so that pre-election alliances would be possible has already been forgotten. It is also forgotten that many AKP leaders, including Erdoğan, had advised the opposition parties to form their own alliances in January and February.

In this sense, it should not be regarded as an exaggeration to argue that the formation of this four-party alliance is a joint product of the AKP and MHP. Therefore, Bahçeli’s allegations of the opposition alliance having FETÖ links constitutes yet another one of his efforts to keep himself and his party solid and to spread fear among people.

This weakening trend of the MHP will sure have an important impact on both the parliamentary and presidential elections, which both require at least 50 percent of votes. MHP, as the weakest link of the People’s Alliance, could fail to generate the required support needed for Erdoğan in the first round of the presidential elections and in obtaining a strong majority in parliament.

Turkey, politics, snap poll, opinion,