Opposition MHP dissidents launch ‘No’ campaign in Turkey’s referendum
ANKARAOpposed to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s strong support for the government-supported constitutional change shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system, dissident voices within the MHP have launched a “No” campaign at a congress in Ankara on Feb. 18.
The campaign, titled “Turkish Nationalists say No,” launched with a congress attended by dissident MHP members, former and current lawmakers, and former Idealist Hearths (Ülkü Ocakları) heads.
Led by Meral Akşener, Sinan Oğan, Koray Aydın and Ümit Özdağ, who all tried to run for the MHP leadership last year but saw their attempt stymied by the party and the court system, the “No” campaigners gathered together over 1,000 supporters at the capital’s Nazım Hikmet Culture Center.
“When the articles of the constitutional amendment are examined, neither stability will be ensured nor will terror come to an end, nor will turmoil in the administration be over. The real cause of instability are those who have been in power for the last 14 years,” MHP Kayseri deputy Yusuf Halaçoğlu said at the meeting, slamming the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for “bringing turmoil to the country.”
“There is no item in the constitutional amendment that demands a ‘Yes,’ either for the republic or the survival of Turkey or the future of the Turkish nation,” Halaçoğlu added.
The MHP dissidents previously announced that they had formed a group to campaign for a “No” vote in the upcoming referendum, due to be held on April 16.
Holding its first meeting in Ankara on Jan. 31, the group announced that they would contact other nationalist and conservative parties to coordinate campaigning.