People’s Alliance looks to expand with conservative party
As of this month, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has completed the first half of its five-year term in office. Under normal conditions, the government has another two-and-a-half years to go before scheduled elections in June 2023.
President and AKP Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is continuing his partnership with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli as part of the People’s Alliance against the Nation Alliance, which consists of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the İYİ (Good) Party, the Felicity Party (SP) and the Democrat Party (DP).
The newly founded Future Party of Ahmet Davutoğlu and the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) of Ali Babacan are seen as natural partners of the oppositional Nation Alliance. Likewise, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is also supporting the Nation Alliance although it does not want to be seen as acting in concert with these parties.
As the next elections will feature a tough race between the two alliances, rather than individual political parties, maintaining the integrity and even expanding the scope will be of crucial importance for both camps.
In recent days, President Erdoğan has had some important meetings to this end. He held a face-to-face meeting with the MHP’s Bahçeli in order to discuss the current political developments as well as the future steps of the People’s Alliance.
Erdoğan also paid a visit to veteran conservative politician Oğuzhan Asiltürk, a member of the Felicity Party’s high advisory board, on Jan. 7, sparking questions about whether the People’s Alliance is making overtures to the Felicity Party.
Asiltürk is a greatly respected political figure among conservatives, as he served as the right-hand man of the late Necmettin Erbakan, the founder of the political Islamic movement in Turkey.
Speaking to reporters on Jan. 8, Erdoğan said it was a courtesy visit to Asiltürk but added that they also discussed a potential alliance between the AKP and the SP either in the form of an election alliance or something else. “While we are fighting terror, all sorts of support should be given to us.
We should not feel alone,” Erdoğan stated. He hinted that he would conduct similar meetings in the near future while noting that he also recently sat down with the chair of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), Önder Aksakal.
In the meantime, Bahçeli has repeated his call to İYİ Party Chairwoman Meral Akşener to “return home” to join the People’s Alliance. His calls have been categorically rejected so far by Akşener, who had to form her own party after she was dismissed from the MHP by Bahçeli.
While the two leaders of the People’s Alliance are busy with these efforts, their officials are continuing their preparations for potential amendments to the Election Law and the Law on Political Parties.
Currently, the AKP and MHP are carrying out their own work before they come together and draft a compromise text.
So far, they don’t seem to be in a hurry as the government’s priority in the first months of 2021 will be economic and other reform packages to attract foreign investors.