Gains and losses of the MHP
The fact that National Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli made a challenge for a new election on the evening of the June 7 election day disrupted many options.
It has to be accepted that, all of a sudden, the option of coalitions without the Justice and Development Party (AKP) ceased to exist. President Erdoğan used all of his cards, without any constitutional, precedent concerns, to take the country to elections.
Bahçeli built and conducted this whole process on rejecting the Kurdish-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). It was the same Bahçeli who closed doors to a coalition with the AKP and for one month did not want to hold elections, saying the “circumstances were not suitable.”
As a matter of fact, he was even offered the office of the prime minister. If conciliation efforts were made, it could have been possible to have a speaker of parliament from the MHP.
But Bahçeli adopted such a stance, harshly criticizing CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu who proposed him the prime ministry. The rejection of the HDP for a coalition and the election of the speaker of parliament opened the way for the AKP to control the parliament again and gain moral superiority.
When Bahçeli also blocked the way for a CHP or CHP-MHP minority government, President Erdoğan took the opportunity and was even able to say no to assigning Kılıçdaroğlu the mandate and went on holding of Nov. 1 elections with today’s AKP-dominated government.
As of today, the MHP voter will ask, “Which one of our strategies has given morale and votes to the party since June 7?”
The portion of voters who are particularly against Erdoğan’s politics will question Bahçeli on what results he obtained, after pledging to take Erdoğan out of the palace and the reopening of the corruption investigations of Dec. 17 and 25, 2013.
The same voter should not be mistaken for supporting the rejection of all maneuvers to corner the AKP and Erdoğan when the MHP had the opportunity. Because Erdoğan delivered a hard blow to the MHP when he got the opportunity.
The blow of Tuğrul Türkeş does not seem to cause any shifts in the votes of the MHP at its grassroots but it was a disappointment for the MHP voter.
Also, the Erdoğan-MHP conflict is not over yet and new steps may be taken. It may be that every hit to the HDP actually provides new votes for that party.
As far as I can see, “There is an operation ongoing over our party through Tuğrul Türkeş” must have created further docking in the MHP that Türkeş was disappointed when he tried to lure two more people from the MHP as cabinet ministers…
However, Bahçeli, who disregarded the message of June 7, made Erdoğan’s hand stronger with the election government.
The appointment to the Interior Ministry is also meaningful. Istanbul police chief Selami Altınok was the person orchestrating the closing of the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption operations.
Altınok should know that the circumstances are not as easy as before and it may be very difficult for him to repeat his “former success.”